Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 24.djvu/91

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Il,ni, of Sailor's Creek.

[From the Richmond Dispatch, March 29, 1896.]


Recollections of One Who Participated in It.


A Charge that was an Inspiring Sight.


To the Editor of the Dispatch :

Responding to your call of the isth instant, I will give my own recollections of the battle of Sailor's Creek, which was fought on the 6th of April, 1865, just three days before the surrender at Appomat- tox. I was at that time captain of Company F, 8th Virginia In- t.mtry, Hunton's Brigade, Pickett's Division. In this account I shall speak of this division in general, and of Hunton's Brigade in par- ticular.

It should be borne in mind that our brigade was not involved in the disaster that befell the rest of our division at Five Forks on the ist day of April. We had been left behind when Pickett was ordered to support Fitz. Lee at Five Forks, and were engaged in the battle of Gravely Run on the 3ist of March, fighting Warren's Corps, and keeping him from reinforcing Sheridan. That day Pickett and Fitz. Lee drove Sheridan back to Dinwiddie Courthouse. But the next day the tables were turned, and Sheridan, reinforced by two corps of infantry, assailed Pickett on all sides and drove him, with heavy loss and in great confusion, from the field. The result was that when we rejoined him that evening our brigade was, perhaps, the larger half of the division. We had more men present for duty than all the other brigades put together.

The turning of our right was followed immediately by an assault upon our thin lines in front of Petersburg, and the long struggle for the defence of Richmond was over. Many were the sad hearts when the retreat began, but it never occurred to some of us that the end of the war was near at hand. We believed in the righteousness and in the ultimate success of our cause, and we viewed the retreat from