attempts to retake this line, but without success. Our loss in front of these was 52 killed, 864 wounded, and 207 missing. The enemy's loss in killed and wounded was far greater.
General Sherman having got his troops all quietly in camp about Goldsborough and his preparations for furnishing supplies to them perfected, visited me at City Point on the 27th of March and stated that he would be ready to move, as he had previously written me, by the 10th of April, fully equipped and rationed for twenty days, if it should become necessary to bring his command to bear against Lee's army, in co-operation with our forces in front of Richmond and Petersburg. General Sherman proposed in this movement to threaten Raleigh,and then, by turning suddenly to the right, reach the Roanoke at Gaston or thereabouts, whence he could move onto the Richmond and Danville Railroad, striking it in the vicinity of Burkeville, or join the armies operating against Richmond, as might be deemed best. This plan he was directed to carry into execution if he received no further directions in the mean time. I explained to him the movement I had ordered to commence on the 29th of March; that if it should not prove as entirely successful as I hoped I would cut the cavalry loose to destroy the Danville and South Side railroads, and thus deprive the enemy of further supplies, and also prevent the rapid concentration of Lee's and Johnston's armies.
I had spent of anxiety lest each morning should bring the report that the enemy had retreated the night before. I was firmly convinced that Sherman's crossing the Roanoke would be the signal for Lee to leave. With Johnston and him combined a long, tedious, and expensive campaign, consuming most of the summer, might become necessary. By moving out I would put the army in better condition for pursuit, and would at least, by the destruction of the Danville road, retard the concentration of the two armies of Lee and Johnston and cause the enemy to abandon much material that he might otherwise save. I therefore determined not to delay the movement ordered. On the night of the 27th Major-General Ord, with two divisions of the Twenty-fourth Corps, Major-General Gibbon commanding, and one division of the Twenty-fifth Corps, Brigadier-General Birney commanding,and Mackenzie's cavalry, took up his line of march in pursuance of the foregoing instructions, and reached the position assigned him near Hatcher's Run on the morning of the 29th. On the 28th the following instructions were given to General Sheridan:
CITY POINT, VA., March 28, 1865.
Major General P. H. SHERIDAN:
GENERAL: The Fifth Army Corps will move by the Vaughn road at 3 a.m. tomorrow morning. The second moves at about 9 a.m., having but,about three miles to march to reach the point designated for it to take on the right of the Fifth Corps, after the latter reaching Dinwiddie Court-House. Move your cavalry at as early an hour as you can, and without being confined to any particular road or roads. You may go out by the nearest roads in rear of the Fifth Corps, pass by its left and passing near to or through Division, reach the right and rear of the enemy as soon as you can. It is not the intention to attack the enemy in his intrenched position, but to force him out if possible. Should he come out and attack us or get himself where he can be attacked, move in with your entire force in your own way, and with the full reliance that the army will engage or follow, as circumstances will dictate. I shall be on the field and will probably be able to communicate with you. Should I not do so, and you find that the enemy keeps within his main intrenched line, you cut loose and push for the Danville road. If you find it practicable, I would like you to cross the South Side road between Petersburg and Burkeville, and destroy it to some extent. I would not advise much detention,