the Widow Gilliam's plantation, and General Mackenzie took position on the Ford road at the crossing of Hatcher's Run.
I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of the troops in this battle and of the gallantry of their commanding officers, who appeared to realize that the success of the campaign and fate of Lee's army depended upon it. They merit that thanks of the country and reward of the Government. To Generals Griffin, Ayres, Bartlett, and Crawford, of the Fifth Corps, and to Generals Merritt, Custer, Devin, and Mackenzie, of the cavalry, great credit is due, and to their subordinate commanders they will undoubtedly award the praise which is due to them for the hearty co-operation, bravery, and ability which were everywhere displayed.
As daylight on the morning of April 2 General Miles' division, of the Second Corps, reported to me, coming over from the Boydton plank road. I ordered it to move up the White Oak road toward Petersburg and attack the enemy at the intersection of that road with the Claiborne road, where he was in position in heavy force, and I followed General Miles immediately with two divisions of the Fifth Corps. Miles forced the enemy from this position and pursued with great zeal, pushing him across Hatcher's Run and following him up on the road to Sutherland's Depot. On the north side of the run I overtook Miles, who was anxious to attack, and had a very fine and spirited division. I gave him permission, but about this time General Humphreys came up, and receiving notice from General Meade that General Humphreys would take command of Miles' division, I relinquished it at once, and facing the Fifth Corps by the rear (I afterward regretted giving up this division, as I believe the enemy could at that time have been crushed at Sutherland's Depot) I returned to Five Forks and marched out the Ford road toward Hatcher's Run.
The cavalry had in the meantime been sent westward to cross Hatcher's Run and break up the enemy's cavalry, which had collected in considerable force north of that stream, but they would not stand to fight, and our cavalry pursued them in a direction due north to the Namozine road.
Crossing Hatcher's Run with the Fifth Corps, the South Side Railroad was struck at Ford's Depot, meeting no opposition, and the Fifth Corps marched rapidly toward Sutherland's Depot, in flank and rear of the enemy opposing Miles as he approached that point. The force of the enemy fled before the Fifth Corps could reach them, retreating along the main road by the Appomattox River, the cavalry and Crawford's division, of the Fifth Corps, engaging them slightly about dusk.
On the morning of the 3rd our cavalry took up the pursuit, routing the enemy's cavalry and capturing many prisoners. The enemy's infantry was encountered at Deep Creek, where a severe fight took place. The Fifth Corps followed up the cavalry rapidly, picking up many prisoners and five pieces of abandoned artillery, and a number of wagons. The Fifth Corps, with Crook's division of cavalry, encamped that night (the 4th) at Deep Creek, on the Namozine road, neither of these commands having been engaged during the day.
On the morning of the 4th General Crook was ordered to strike the Danville railroad between Jetersville and Burke's Station, and then move up toward Jetersville. The Fifth Corps moved rapidly to that point, as I had learned from my scouts that the enemy was at Amelia Court-House, and everything indicated that they were collecting at that point. On arriving at Jetersville, about 5 p.m., I learned without doubt that Lee and his army were at Amelia Court-House.