cover, or to co-operate with the Sixth Corps if they could carry out their orders and get in I did both. On my left we carried the enemy's line with Harris' brigade, and I sent two divisions to General Wright's assistance, who had called on me for aid. My commanders had direction, after the enemy's line near Hatcher's Run and on my front was carried, to form line of battle on their right, facing Petersburg, and to move rapidly up to such other entrenchments as they might find, and take them. This order did not reach all the commanders. Generals Gibbon, Foster, Turner, and Birney, however, all moved toward the enemy, driving them from successive positions toward Petersburg. General Wright's forces were met coming toward Hatcher's; the latter forces were faced about, connected with mine, and moved up to the enemy's second double line, being covered with heavily detached and isolated forts, made it necessary, that they should be stormed. Forts Gregg and Baldwin in my front were attacked-the former by part of Foster's division, aided by part of Turner's division, and the latter by Harris' brigade, Turner's division. Fort Gregg was defended with desperate courage worthy a better cause, and for nearly half an hour after our troops had gained the parapet the rebels fought hand to hand. The place was not taken until a large part of its garrison were killed or wounded. For the details of gallant deeds here and elsewhere I must refer to Generals Foster's and Turner's reports and those of brigade commanders.
I afterward learned that on this day the enemy moved a portion of their forces from the north side of the James, which forces they had held there until now in the belief that I still remained there with the whole of the Army of the James, and after Petersburg was taken they expressed great surprise at finding my troops in their front. So much for secrecy.
That night the enemy evacuated Petersburg and Richmond and began their retreat toward Danville, and the lieutenant-general put my column in pursuit as the left wing and along the line of the South Side Railroad, and the men marched well. At Blacks and Whites I left Birney's division to guard the railroad. The evening before reaching Burkeville Junction-which we did on the morning of the 6th about 10 o'clock-I learned from General Sheridan that Lee's army had halted near Amelia Court-House; that our cavalry and a corps of infantry were in its front, and if all pushed up it would probably be captured. As Lee appeared to be aiming for either Danville or Lynchburg, Lieutenant-General Grant directed me to cut the bridges in his front, and wait orders at Burkeville, which it was important to hold. To cut the high bridge near Farmington [Farmville] I dispatched two small regiments of infantry and all my headquarters escort, the only cavalry I had, under Colonel Washburn, Fifth [Fourth] Massachusetts Cavalry, before daylight in the morning, with orders to push as rapidly as the exhausted condition of men and horses would permit, for the bridge, make a reconnaissance when near there, and, if not too well guarded, to burn, it returning at once with great caution.
After they had left, on the morning of the 5th [6th], about 9 or 10 a.m., I received a dispatch by courier from General Sheridan that Lee's army had broken away from him and were making, apparently, direct for me, at Burke's Junction. My command was immediately put in position to meet them, but it seems they turned off and took the road toward Farmville. Apprehending that my bridge-burning party might meet a force of Lee's cavalry sent southward to hold this bridge I had, before receiving Sheridan's dispatch, sent General Theodore Read, my chief of