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History of Cambria County, V.2

HISTORY OF CAMBRIA COUNTY. 399
keeping parallel with Lee's retreating army. Longstreet's corps was in the advance, and reached Rice's Station, on the Lynchburg railroad, where it awaited the arrival of the remainder of Lee's forces.
    Gen. Humphreys' corps (Capt. Fite) was checked at Flat Creek to repair a bridge, but soon overtook Gordon, who was covering Lee's rear columns, and a running fight was kept up for fourteen miles. Gordon crossed Sailor's Creek and made a stand, but was defeated. Humphreys' corps (Capt. Fite) also crossed the creek and marched towards the High Bridge of the Lynchburg railroad, which crosses the Appomattox river a few miles east of Farmville.
    While Grant was pressing Lee, as noted, Sheridan also crossed Sailor's Creek and discovered an opportunity to plant his force of cavalry (Capts. Black and Blough) in front of Lee's army. The two companies from Johnstown in this brilliant movement were:

Captain. Co. Regiment. Brigade Division Corps.
Henry J. Blough K 18th Pa. Cav.
J. W. Phillips
First
A.C H Pennington.
Third
W. Merritt
Geo. A. Custer.
Cavalry.
P.H.Sheridan
Thomas D.Black F 21st Pa. Cav.
O.B.Knowles
Second
J. Irvin Gregg
S.M.B. Young
Second
Geo. Crook
Calvary.
P.H.Sheridan

    After crossing the creek, which flows northwest, and the road leading from Deatonville to Rice's Station, Sheridan directed Merritt (Capt. Blough) to shift his division to the left and take possession of the road. The order was obeyed and Lee's wagon trains were destroyed. In the meanwhile Gen. Crook (Capt. Black) posted his division squarely in front of Ewell's corps. These movements completely blocked Ewell, whose men fought like tigers to escape in a westerly direction through the woods. In order to prevent this, Crook (Capt. Black) dismounted two brigades of his cavalry and with one mounted brigade made an assault all along his line, while Merritt (Capt. Blough) fiercely attacked on Crook's right. It was a desperate fight between infantry and cavalry, but the latter held the enemy in check until Sheridan succeeded in getting Seymour's and Wheaton's divisions of infantry to close in on Ewell from the north and west, when they made a general attack. This took place about 5 p. m., and before dusk the battle was over and Ewell had surrendered with over 8,000 troops and five of his generals, namely: Kershaw, Barton, Corse, Dubose and Curtis Lee.


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Created: 26 Mar 2003, Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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Lynne Canterbury, Diann Olsen and contributors