“In the morning push round the enemy if you can and get onto his right rear”

The enemy’s withdrawal from Warren’s front might mean that they are too weak to hold the entire line.  If we can stretch them further, we may be able to break through.  I wrote Sheridan,

GRAVELLY CREEK, March 29, 1865.

Major-General SHERIDAN:

Our line is now unbroken from the Appomatoc to Dinwiddie. We are all ready, however, to give up all from the Jerusalem plank road to Hatcher’s Run whenever the force can be used advantageously. After getting into line south of Hatcher’s we pushed forward to find the enemy’s position. General Griffin was attacked near where the Qoaker road intersects the Boydton road, but repulsed it easily, capturing about 100 men. Humphreys reached Dabney’s Mill and was pushing on when last heard from. I now feel like ending the matter if it is possible to do so before going back. I do not want you, therefore, to cut loose and go after the enemy’s roads at present. In the morning push round the enemy if you can and get onto his right rear. The movements of the enemy’s cavalry may, of course, modify your action. We will act altogether as one army here it is seen what can be done with the enemy. The signal officer at Cobb’s Hill reported at 11.30 a. m. a cavalry column had passed that point from Richmond toward Petersburg, taking forty minutes to pass.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 14, p 253-4

O.R., I, xlvi, part 3, p 266

Meade: “General Warren reports that on advancing to attack the enemy was found to have retired”

Gen. Meade sent the first report of the results of today’s attack.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, March 29, 1865-6.55 p. m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT:

A dispatch of 5.50 p. m. from General Warren reports that on advancing to attack the enemy was found to have retired, and is supposed to have withdrawn to his main line of works. Major-General Warren is following him. The fighting was quite severe for a while. Casualties not yet reported. Brevet Brigadier-General Sickel wounded. General Warren’s left is on the Boydton pike. He states his skirmishers on the left report the enemy’s cavalry moving rapidly north from Dinwiddie; undoubtedly before Sheridan.

GEO. G. MEADE,

Major-General, Commanding.

 

I wrote him,

HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES, Gravelly Creek, March 29, 1865.

Major General G. G. MEADE,

Commanding Army of the Potomac:

GENERAL: General Warren’s report of 5.50 p. m. looks as if the enemy may fall back behind Hatcher’s Run during the night, leaving the road open to us ot Burgess’ Tavern. If so, we will want to wheel to the right so as to cover all the crossings of the run as soon as we can. If the enemy does not fall back, we will then push up close to him and feel out to our left and endeavor to force him to this course. Sheridan has received orders to push for the enemy’s right rear in the morning, unless the position of their cavalry makes a different course necessary, and not to leave us until he receives further orders.

Respectful, &c.,

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 14, p 249-50

O.R., I, xlvi, part 3, p 243

“The battle of the 25th resulted in the following loss on our side”

I wrote Sec. Stanton,

CITY POINT, VA., March 27, 1865-10.30 a. m.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

The battle of the 25th resulted in the following loss on our side: Second Corps-killed, 51; wounded, 462; missing, 177. Sixth Corps-killed, 47; wounded, 401; missing, 30. Ninth Corps-killed, 68; wounded, 337; missing, 506. Our capture were: by the Second corps, 365; Sixth Corps, 469; Ninth Corps, 1,949. The Second and Sixth Corps pushed forward and captured the enemy’s strong entrenched picket-line and turned it against him, and still hold it. In trying to retake this the battle was continued until 8 o’clock at night, the enemy losing very heavy. Humphryes estimates the loss of the enemy in his front at three times his own, and General Wright estimates it in his front as double. The enemy sent a flag of truce yesterday for permission to collect his wounded and bury his dead, which were between what had been their picket-line and their main line of fortifications. The permission was granted.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 14, p 232

O.R., I, xlvi, part 3, p 194-5

Parke: “The enemy attacked my front this morning at about 4:30 “

I wrote Sec. Stanton with a report of an enemy attack early this morning.

CITY POINT, VA., March 25, 1865-1.30 p. m.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

The following dispatch of General Parke is received from General Meade:

The enemy attacked my front this morning at about 4.30 with three divisions, under command of General Gordon. By a sudden rush they seized the line held by the Third Brigade, First Division, at the foot of the hill, to the right of Fort Stedman, wheeled, and, overpowering the garrison, took possession of the fort. They established themselves on the hill, turning our guns upon us. Our troops on either flank stood firm. Soon after a determined attack was made on Fort Haskell, held by part of McLaughelen’s brigade, Willcox’s division, and was repulsed with great loss to the enemy. The First Brigade of Hartranft’s division, held in reserve, was brought up, and a check given to any further advance. One or two attempts to retake the hill were only temporarily successful, until the arrival of the Second Brigade, when a charge was made by that brigade, aided by the troops of the First Division, on either flank, and the enemy were driven out of the fort, with the loss of a number of prisoners, estimated at about 1,600. Two battle-flags also been brought in. The enemy also lost heavily in killed outside of our lines. The whole line was immediately reoccupied, and the guns retaken uninjured.

I regret to add that General McLaughlen was captured in Fort Stedman; our loss was otherwise not heavy. Great praise is due to General Hartranft for the skill and gallantry displayed in handing his division, which behaved with great spirit in this its first engagement.

JNO. G. PARKE,

Major-General, Commanding.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 14, p 217-8

O.R., I, xlvi, part 3, p 109-10

“On the 29th instant the armies operating against Richmond will be moved by our left”

I wrote Gen. Meade with detailed instructions for the Spring offensive, which I intend to begin on the 29th.

CITY POINT, VA., March 24, 1865.

Major-General MEADE, ORD, and SHERIDAN:

GENERAL: On the 29th instant the armies operating against Richmond will be moved by our left, for the double purpose of turning the enemy out of his present position around Petersburg and to insure the success of the cavalry under General Sheridan, which will start at the same time, in its efforts to reach and destroy the South Side and Danville Railroads. Two corps of the Army of the Potomac will be moved at first in two columns, taking the two roads crossing Hatcher’s Run nearest where the present line held by us strikes that stream, both moving toward Dinwiddie Court-House.

The cavalry under General Sheridan, joined by the division now under General Davies, will move at the same time by the Weldon road and the Jerusalem plank road, turning west from the latter before crossing the Nottoway, and west with the whole column before reaching Stony Creek. General Sheridan will then move independently, under other instructions which will be given him. All dismounted cavalry belonging to the Army of the Potomac, and the dismounted cavalry from the Middle Military Division not required for guarding property belonging to their arm of service, will report to Brigadier-General Benham, to be added to the defenses of City Point. Major-General Parke will be left in command of all the army left for holding the lines about Petersburg and City Point, subject, of course, to orders from the commander of the Army of the Potomac. The Ninth Army Corps will be left intact to hold the present line of works so long as the whole line now occupied by us is held. If, however, the troops to the left of the Ninth Corps are withdrawn, then the left of the corps may be thrown back so as to occupy the position held by the army prior to the capture of the Weldon road. All troops to the left of the Ninth Corps will be held in readiness to move at the shortest notice by such route as may be designated when the order is given.

General Ord will detach three divisions, two white and one colored, or so much of them as he can, and hold his present lines and march for the present left of the Army of the Potomac. In the absence of further orders, or until further orders are given, the white divisions will follow the left column of the Army of the Potomac, and the colored division the right column. During the movement Major-General Weitzel will be left in command of all the forces remaining behind from the Army of the James.

The movement of troops from the Army of the James will commence on the night of the 27th instant. General Ord will leave behind the minimum number of cavalry necessary for picket duty, in the absence of the main army. A cavalry expedition from General Ord’s command will also be started from Suffolk, to leave there on Saturday, the 1st of April, under Colonel Sumner, for the purpose of cutting the railroad about Hicksford. This, if accomplished, will have to be a surprise, and therefore from 300 to 500 men will be sufficient. They should, however, be supported by all the infantry that can be spared from Norfolk and Portmouth, as far our as to where the cavalry crossed the Blackwater. The crossing should probably be at United. Should Colonel Sumner succeed in reaching the Weldon road he will be instructed to do all the damage possible to the triangle of roads between Hicksford, Weldon, and Gaston. The railroad bridge at Weldon being fitted up for the passage of carriages, it might be practicable to destroy any accumulation of supplies the enemy may have collected south of the Roanoke. All the troops will move with four days’ rations in haversacks, and eight days’ in wagons. To avoid as much hauling as possible, and to give the Army of James the same number of days’ supply with the Army of the Potomac, General Ord will direct his commissary and quartermaster to have sufficient supplies delivered at the terminus of the road to fill up in passing. Sixty rounds of ammunition per man will be taken in wagons, and as much grain as the transportation on hand will carry, after taking the specified amount of other supplies. The densely wooded country in which the army has to operate making the use of much artillery impracticable, the amount taken with the army will be reduced to six or eight guns to each division, at the option of the army commanders.

All necessary preparations for carrying these directions into operation may be commenced at once. The reserves of the Ninth Corps should be massed as much as possible. While I would not now order an unconditional attack on the enemy’s line by them, they should be ready, and should make the attack if the enemy weaken his line in their front, without waiting for orders. In case they carry the line, then the whole of the Ninth Corps could follow up, so as to join or co-operate with the balance of the army. To prepare for this the Ninth Corps will have rations issued to them, same as the balance of the army. General Weitzel will keep vigilant watch upon his front, and if found at all practicable to break through at any point, he will do so. A success north of the James should be followed up with great promptness. An attack will not be feasible unless it is found that the enemy has detached largely. In that case it may be regarded as evident that the enemy are relying upon their local reserves, principally, for the defense of Richmond. Preparations may be for abandoning all the line north of the James, except inclosed works-only to be abandoned, however, after a break is made in the lines of the enemy.

By these instructions a large part of the armies operating against Richmond is left behind. The enemy, knowing this, may, as an only chance, strip their lines to the merest skeleton, in the hope of advantage not being taken of it, while they hurl everything against the moving column, and return. It cannot be impressed too strongly upon commanders of troops left in the trenches not to allow this to occur without taking advantage of it. The very fact of the enemy coming out to attack, if he does so, might be regarded as almost conclusive evidence of such a weakening of his lines. I would have it particularly enjoined upon corps commanders that, in case of an attack from the enemy, those not attacked are not to wait for orders from the commanding officer of the army to which they belong, but that they will move promptly, and notify the commander of their action. I would also enjoin the same action on the part of division commanders when other parts of their corps are engaged. In like manner, I would urge the importance of following up a repulse of the enemy.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 14, p 211-14

O.R., xxxvi, part 1, p 52-3

“I have no present purpose of making a campaign with the forces in the Middle Department”

I received the following from Gen. Halleck,

WASHINGTON, D. C., March 23, 1865-12 m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT,

City Point:

General Sheridan makes requisition for 3,000 cavalry horses, to be sent to him immediately. Only about 600 on hand, and to fill this requisition no more can be sent for some time to Armies of the Potomac and James. Shall this be done?

H. W. HALLECK,

Major-General and Chief of Staff.

 

I replied,

CITY POINT, VA., March 24, 1865-12 m.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

Washington:

I have no present purpose of making a campaign with the forces in the Middle Department, but want them in the best possible condition for either offensive or defensive operations. If Lee should retreat south the surplus force under Hancock could be transferred to another field. If he should go to Lynchburg they will be required where they are. The Nineteenth Corps ought to be discontinued, or else all the new troops coming into the field added to it.

We want here all the cavalry horses that can be delivered between now and next Wednesday. Direct all the cavalry horses to be sent to Canby that can be . His cavalry ought, however, to remount itself in the country where it is operating. Canby should be supplied from the West and by the Mississippi River.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 14, p 210

O.R., I, xlvi, part 3, p 87, 97

“there is now such a possibility, if not probability, of Lee and Johnston attempting to unite”

I wrote Gen. Sheridan,

CITY POINT, VA., March 21, 1865. (Received 22nd.)

Major General P. H. SHERIDAN,

Commanding Middle Military Division:

I do not wish to hurry you, and besides fully appreciate the necessity of both having your horses well shod and well rested before starting again on another long march. But there is now such a possibility, if not probability, of Lee and Johnston attempting to unite that I feel extremely desirous not only of cutting the lines of communication between them, but of having a large and properly commanded cavalry force ready to act with in case such an attempt is made. I think that by Saturday next you had better start, even if you have to stop here to finish shoeing up.

I will have a force moved out from north of the James to take possession of Long Bridge crossing and to lay a pontoon for you. Some of the troops will push up as far as Bottom’s Bridge, if they do not meet with too much opposition. This move will not be made at the date indicated unless it is known that you are ready to start; it will be made earlier if you indicate a readiness to start earlier.

Stoneman started yesterday front Knoxville with a cavalry force of probably 5,000 men to penetrate Southwest Virginia as far toward Lynchburg as possible. Under his instructions he may strike from New River toward Danville. This, however, I do not expect him to do. Wilson started at the same time from Eastport toward Selma with a splendidly equipped cavalry force of 12,000 men. Canby is in motion, and I have reason to believe that Sherman and Schofield have formed a junction at Goldsbrough.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 14, p 195-6

O.R., I, xlvi, part 3, p 67

“I would call attention to the fact that our white troops are being paid, whilst the colored troops are not”

I received the following from Gen. Ord,

The following recd from Gen Weitzel
My officers and men are discouraged because the rest of the army have been paid and the Colored troops have not although repeated promises have been made—They have about Six (6) months pay due

 

I wrote to Sec. Stanton,

CITY POINT, VA., March 21, 1865-2.30 p. m.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

I would recommend relieving Crook from command of his department and ordering him to command the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac. I would call attention to the fact that our white troops are being paid, whilst the colored troops are not. If paymaster could be ordered here immediately to commence paying them it would have a fine effect.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 14, p 189-91

O.R., I, xlvi, part 3, p 61

“It probably will be well for you to send a division of troops to meet Sheridan”

I want Gen. Ord to ensure that Sheridan’s cavalry can reach the main body of this army safely.  I wrote him,

CITY POINT, VA., March 18, 1865-7.45 p. m.

Major-General ORD:

General Sheridan reached White House to-day. He will remain there several days to shoe up his animals and then join the armies here. I want you to hold the crossing of the Chickahominy, but do not want to jeopardize the command there. It probably will be well for you to send a division of troops to meet Sheridan. They need not start, however, until about the time Sheridan starts, notice of which I will give you. If you deem a little infantry necessary for the support of your cavalry you may send it.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 14, p 179

O.R., I, xlvi, part 3, p 32

Sheridan: “They know that if this cavalry force can join you it will be bad for Richmond”

Gen. Sheridan writes,

Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,

City Point, Va.:

GENERAL: A messenger from the White House met me here this morning. After sending my dispatch to you from Columbia, Colonel Fitzhugh’s brigade was advanced as far as Goochland, destroying the canal to that point. We then marched up to the Virginia Central Railroad at Tolersville, and destroyed it down to Beaver Dam Station, totally destroying fifteen miles of the railroad. General Custer was then sent to Ashland and General Devin to the South Anna bridges, all of which have been destroyed. There is not a bridge on the railroad from the South Anna to Lynchburg. This morning two divisions of infantry came out near Ashland (Pickett’s and Corse’s), and I have concluded to cross the North Anna and go to the White House, on the north side. I think this force too large to fight, and it may attempt to prevent my crossing over from the White House, unless you can draw them back. They know that if this cavalry force can join you it will be bad for Richmond. The enemy attempted to prevent our burning the Central railroad bridge over the South Anna, but the Fifth U. S. Cavalry charged up to the bridge, and about thirty men dashed across on foot, driving off the enemy and capturing three pieces of artillery-20-pounder Parrotts.

P. H. SHERIDAN,

Major-General, Commanding.

 

I replied,

CITY POINT, VA., March 17, 1865.

Major General P. H. SHERIDAN,

White House, Va.:

Your dispatch of the 15th is this moment received. A brigade of troops as guard to supplies for your command has been at White House for two days to meet you. The evening of the 15th I sent all the cavalry of the Army of the James, except necessary pickets, to the Chickahominy, to threaten in that direction and hold the enemy’s cavalry as far as possible. I have ordered them now to move up between White Oak Swamp and the Chickahominy, to attract as much attention as they can and go as far as they can. It has been so long since your dispatch was written, however, I fear you will receive no material benefit from movements made here.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 14, p 165, 177-8

O.R., I, xlvi, part 2, p 993-4

O.R, I, xlvi, part 3, p 24