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It not being forthcoming, the city was fired, and the
invaders, after some hard fighting, succeeded in getting back to the
southern shore of the Potomac.


SHERIDAN IN THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY.

These raids were so exasperating that Grant, who could not give them his
personal attention, determined to put an effectual stop to them. The
government united the departments of western Virginia, Washington, and
the Susquehanna, and placed them under the charge of General Sheridan,
who had 40,000 men at his disposal. Sheridan, whose force was three
times as numerous as Early's, was anxious to move against him, and Grant
finally gave his consent on the condition that he would desolate the
Shenandoah Valley to that extent that nothing would be left to invite
invasion.

[Illustration: GENERAL PHILIP H. SHERIDAN.]

In the first encounter between Sheridan and Early near the Opequan, a
small tributary of the Potomac, west of the Shenandoah, Early was routed
and sent flying toward Winchester, with the loss of many prisoners and
supplies. He was driven through the town, and his troops intrenched
themselves on Fisher's Hill, near Strasburg. They were again attacked,
on the 21st of September, and compelled to retreat further up the
valley. Early received a reinforcement, and secured himself at Brown's
Gap, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where for the first time he was really
safe.

This left Sheridan free to carry out the orders of Grant to devastate
the valley, and he made thorough work of it. Nothing was spared, and the
burning and destruction were so complete that his homely remark seemed
justified when he said that no crow would dare attempt to fly across
the region without taking his rations with him.

Feeling that the situation was secure, Sheridan now went to Washington
to consult with the government. On the 19th of October the Union camp at
Cedar Creek was surprised and routed by Early, who captured eighteen
guns, which were turned on the fugitives as they fled in the direction
of Middletown. Their commander, General Wright, finally succeeded in
rallying them, mainly because the Confederates were so overcome at sight
of the food in the abandoned camps that they gave up the pursuit to
feast and gorge themselves.


"SHERIDAN'S RIDE."

Sheridan had reached Winchester, "twenty miles away," on his return from
Washington, when the faint sounds of firing told him of the battle in
progress. Leaping into his saddle, he spurred at headlong speed down the
highway, rallied the panic-stricken troops, placed himself at their
head, and, charging headlong into the rebel mob at Cedar Creek,
scattered them like so much chaff, retook the camps, and routed Early so
utterly that no more raids were attempted by him or any other
Confederates during the remainder of the war. Indeed, it may be said
that this disgraceful overthrow ended the military career of Jubal
Early. When some months later General Lee was placed at the head of all
the military affairs of the Confederacy, he lost no time in doing two
things: the first was to restore General Jo Johnston to his old command,
and the second to remove Early from his.

The stirring incident described furnished the theme for the well-known
poem of T. Buchanan Read, entitled "Sheridan's Ride."

Grant held fast to that which he won by terrific fighting. Petersburg
lies about twenty miles to the south of Richmond, and the strongly
fortified Union lines were nearly thirty miles in length, extending from
a point close to the Weldon Railroad, on Grant's left, across the James
to the neighborhood of Newmarket, on the right. Holding the inner part
of this circle, Lee was able for a long time to repel every assault.

The Confederate commander fought furiously to prevent his enemy from
obtaining possession of the Weldon Road, but late in August a lodgment
was effected from which the Federals could not be driven. Other
advantages were gained, but the close of the year saw Lee still
unconquered and defiant.


GRANT'S SLOW BUT RESISTLESS PROGRESS.

Early in February, 1865, Grant attempted to turn the Confederate right,
but was repulsed, though he gained several miles of additional
territory. Sheridan soon after destroyed the Richmond and Lynchburg
Railroad and the locks of the James River Canal, after which he joined
the Army of the James.

[Illustration: SURRENDER OF GENERAL LEE TO GENERAL GRANT, AT APPOMATTOX
COURT-HOUSE, APRIL 9, 1865.

"The two generals met at the house of Major McLean, in the hamlet of
Appomattox Courthouse, where Lee surrendered all that remained of the
Confederate Army, which for nearly four years had beaten back every
attempt to capture Richmond. Grant's terms, as usual, were generous. He
did not ask for Lee's sword, and demanded only that he and his men
should agree not again to bear arms against the Government of the United
States."]

But Lee was beginning to feel the tremendous and continued pressure. His
army numbered barely 35,000 men. A.P. Hill commanded the right wing,
stretching from Petersburg to Hatcher's Run; General J.B. Gordon, the
centre, at Petersburg; and Longstreet, who had recovered from his wound,
the left wing, north and south of the James; while the cavalry did what
it could to cover the flanks. This attenuated line was forty miles long.
Realizing the desperate straits, the Confederate authorities early in
1865 placed the entire military operations of the Confederacy in the
hands of Lee.

The latter planned to fall back toward Danville and unite with Johnston.
If successful this would have given him a formidable army; but Grant did
not intend to permit such a junction. Fighting went on almost
continually, the gain being with the Union army, because of its greatly
superior numbers and the skill with which they were handled by the
master, Grant. April 1st a cannonade opened along the whole Union line.
Lee's right wing had been destroyed, but the others were unbroken. At
daylight the next morning an advance was made against the Confederate
works. Lee was forced back, and he strengthened his lines by making them
much shorter.

The Confederates steadily lost ground, many were killed and taken
prisoners, and in a charge upon the Union left General A.P. Hill lost
his life. At last the enemy's outer lines were hopelessly broken, and
Lee telegraphed the startling fact to President Davis, who received it
while sitting in church, Sunday, April 2d. The Confederate President was
told that Lee could hold Petersburg but a few hours longer, and Davis
was warned to have the authorities ready to leave Richmond unless a
message was sent to the contrary. No such longed-for message arrived.


EVACUATION OF RICHMOND.

The counsel of Lee was followed. Jefferson Davis, the members of his
cabinet, and a number of leading citizens left the capital that night
for Charlotte, North Carolina. The whole city was thrown into the
wildest confusion; rioting and drunkenness filled the streets, buildings
were fired, and pandemonium reigned. General Witzel, who occupied the
Union works to the north of Richmond, learned the astounding news, and
the next morning rode into the city without opposition. The tidings were
telegraphed to Washington. The following day President Lincoln arrived,
and was quartered in the house formerly occupied by Jefferson Davis.
Martial law was proclaimed, and order restored in the stricken city.

But General Lee had not yet surrendered. No men ever fought more
heroically than he and his soldiers. On the Sunday that he sent his
message to President Davis, the commander found the only line of retreat
left to him was that which led to the westward, and even that was
threatened. Anticipating Lee's retreat, Grant used all possible energy
to cut him off. On the night of April 6th Lee crossed the Appomattox
near Farmville. That night his general officers held a consultation, and
agreed that but one course was left to them and that was to surrender.
Their views were communicated to Lee, but he would not yet consent to
that decisive step.

[Illustration: LINCOLN ENTERING RICHMOND.]

Grant was in Farmville on the 7th, and he sent a letter to Lee,
reminding him of the uselessness of further resistance and asking for
his surrender. Lee still declined, and continued his retreat. Then
Sheridan threw his powerful division of cavalry in front of the
Confederates, and Lee decided to cut his way through the ring of
bayonets and sabres by which he was environed. This desperate task was
assigned to the indomitable Gordon. He made a resistless beginning, when
he saw the impossibility of success. The news was sent to Lee, who
realized at last that all hope was gone. He forwarded a note to Grant,
asking for a suspension of hostilities with a view to surrender. The two
generals met at the house of Major McLean, in the hamlet of Appomattox
Court-House, on the 9th of April, where Lee surrendered all that
remained of the Confederate army, which for nearly four years had beaten
back every attempt to capture Richmond.

Grant's terms as usual were generous. He did not ask for Lee's sword,
and demanded only that he and his men should agree not to bear arms
again against the government of the United States. They were to
surrender all public property, but Grant told them to keep their horses,
"as you will need them for your spring ploughing." The soldiers who had
fought each other so long and so fiercely fraternized like brothers,
exchanged grim jests over the terrible past, and pledged future
friendship. The reunion between the officers was equally striking. Most
of them were old acquaintances, and all rejoiced that the war was at
last ended. General Lee rode with his cavalry escort to his home in
Richmond and rejoined his family. He was treated with respect by the
Union troops, who could not restrain a feeling of sympathy for their
fallen but magnanimous enemy.


ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN.

The bonfires in the North had hardly died out and the echoes of the glad
bells were still lingering in the air, when the whole country was
startled by one of the most horrifying events in all history.



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