attack the enemy, but the cavalry having early ascertain that he was endeavoring to escape by Deatonsville toward Farmville, the direction of the line of march was immediately changed; the Second moved directly on the former place and in a short time came upon and commenced a brisk skirmish with the retreating force and continued commenced a brisk skirmish with the retreating force and continued to drive him until night closed the operation; the Fifth Corps was shifted to the right flank and took the road top Paineville.
Colonel Michler was directed to report the change of movement and explain its object to the commanding officer of the Sixth Corps. His column was counter marched and thrown from the right to the left flank. After retracing it steps through Jetersville and passing some two miles beyond the village, it left the main turnpike and followed a road which he had found leading toward the northwest, and by which the troops moving along it were absolutely certain of striking the flank of the retreating army. The entire cavalry force was operating on the same flank.
By night the battle of Sailor's Creek was fought, which will long be remembered as one of the most brilliant and successful affairs of the war. It was, in fact, the last desperate engagement between these two armies.
On the 7th of April the pursuit was continued. The enemy having succeeded in crossing the Appomattox at Farmville and High Bridge, he succeeded in destroying all the bridges at the former place, but failed in his efforts to damage the common road bridge at the latter crossing; three spans of the railroad bridge (Richmond and Danville road) were burnt; this structure is 2,400 feet long and 125 feet high. The enemy made some slight resistance at both these places and also on the Lynchburg plank road at a point about four miles beyond Farmville.
The naturally very strong position at High Bridge was rendered additionally so by several redoubts which had been built there sometime previous for the protection of the bridge against cavalry raids.
On the 8th the Second and Sixth Corps followed along the Stage road to Lynchburg, whilst the Fifth, Twenty-fourth, and Cavalry Corps pursued the one by Hampden Sidney College and Prospect Stations toward Appomattox Court-House.
During the day he returned to Farmville to hasten the construction of some additional pontoon bridges and rejoined the major-general commanding on the main road. On the previous evening Lieutenant-General Grant had demanded the surrender of General Lee to avoid the further effusion of blood. No skirmishing had taken place during the day, although the one army was close on the rear of the other.
About noon on the 9th, in consequence of the negotiations in regard to the surrender which were pending and exchanged under flags of truce between the generals commanding the respective armies, the advance of the Army of the Potomac Court-House was ordered to halt and await the issue of the proceedings. The other column had, by rapid marching, succeeded in passing around and confronting the head of that of the enemy at the latter place.
The few hours of anxious suspense were happily compensated by the glorious tidings which were soon proclaimed throughout the army announcing "the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia."
On the following day the army commenced a retrograde movement toward Burke's Station, where it remained in camp until ordered to take up its final march toward Washington, D. C.