War of the Rebellion: Serial 095 Page 0893 Chapter LVIII. THE APPOMATTOX CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

under the personal direction of Major-General Warren and Brigadier-General Baxter, commanding the brigade. It was understood that the corps was to march about four miles in the direction of the South Side Railroad, where our cavalry, under Sheridan, were confronted by a large rebel force, and to report to him with a view of co-operating with him in his contemplated movement against the enemy. It was about 2 p. m. when we reached him, in front of the enemy's entrenchments at the Five Forks. Immediate preparations were made for the attack. The cavalry were on the left, and the infantry (being the Fifth Corps) on the right; our brigade (Second, under Brigadier General Henry Baxter) on the right, my regiment being on the right of the brigade. At about 3 p. m. the line was in readiness to advance, and very soon thereafter the grand movement commenced. The ground over which we were to pass was composed of woods, fields, thickets of underbrush, swamps, ditches, streams, & c. After arriving at a certain road running parallel with the line of battle, a half-wheel was to be made to the left, intending by this, in which we succeeded, to swing around into the enemy's rear. The enemy was soon met along the whole line. We moved in this battle over a distance of three miles. The movement and the fighting continued, we driving the enemy all the time, until dark ended the battle, being one of the most grand, complete, and important victories of the war. Indeed, it seems to have been the turning point in the great movements againstt Petersburg and Richmond and the destruction of Lee's army, as all of these important places and that great army that has confronted us for nearly four long, wearisome, bloody years soon after fell into our possession.

I am happy in being able to say that my regiment conducted itself in this long trying engagement in the most gallant manner; and in this I am glad to say it only vied with the other gallant regiments composing the brigade. The thanks of the general commanding the brigade immediately at the close of the engagement, for the good conduct of my regiment, was most gratifying.

In this great work of to-day I must acknowledge, in addition to the personal aid extended by Brigadier-General Baxter, commanding brigade, the important aid given in the various movements by Captain W. G. Sheen, acting assistant adjutant-general, Captain B. F. Bucklin, commissary of subsistence, Lieutenant R. C. Knaggs, aide-de-camp, and Lieutenant A. Leavitt, of his staff. Laboring under special difficulties in consequence of the very few officers in my regiment, the aid extended by these officers is the more appreciated. The difficulties to be overcome in advancing in line of battle over such ground were great.

April 2, the movement was on the White Oak road for several miles, to co-operate, as was supposed with a movement of the Second Corps, near the Burgess Mills; but we were soon countermarched, and our column headed toward the South Side Railroad, which the victory of yesterday secured, and which we reached about 3 p. m., and up which we marched toward Petersburg some four miles. As we were about going into camp for the night we were marched in the direction of Burkeville some four miles, to support the cavalry, then engaged with a retreating column of the enemy. At about 10 p. m. we reached the vicinity of the enemy and had some skirmishing, in order, as was supposed, to develop his position. My regiment, by order of the general commanding the division, was deployed to the front and left, where it remained during the night, suffering greatly from the cold, no fires being allowed in consequence of the proximity to the enemy.