Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Final Fight

The Battle of Appomattox Court House, the final engagement for the Confederate General Robert E Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia, was fought April 9th 1865.

Confederate Major General John B Gordon’s Corps and General Fitzhugh Lee’s cavalry formed at Appomattox Court House and attacked Union General Philip H Sheridan’s cavalry at dawn on April 9th 1865, pushing the first line, commanded by Union Brigadier General Charles H Smith back.  Hitting the second line of Union cavalry commanded by Brigadier General George Crook slowed Gordon’s advance.  The Confederate continued their advance and reached the crest, where they found the entire Union V Corps in line.  The Confederate cavalry seeing the Union force withdrew and moved off toward Lynchburg, Virginia.  Union General Edward O C Ord’s soldiers advanced on Gordon’s men, as the Union II Corps started a movement to the northeast on Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet Corps.

It was at this point, with Lee’s army surrounded on three sides, that one of Lee’s staff; Colonel Charles Venable rode in for an appraisal of the situation.  Gordon told him to "tell General Lee I have fought my corps to a frazzle, and I fear I can do nothing unless I am heavily supported by Longstreet's corps."  It was upon receiving this news that Robert E Lee said, "Then there is nothing left for me to do but to go and see General Grant and I would rather die a thousand deaths."  Lee rode out with three of his aides shortly after to meet with Union General Ulysses S Grant to arrange for surrender.  This last action at Appomattox Court House caused the Union 260 and the Confederates 440 more casualties.

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