Robert E. Lee reports to the Secretary of War on April, 1865, fighting in Virginia. He mentions a report from Staunton on Union strengths and movements in the northern Shenandoah Valley.
Hon. SECRETARY OF WAR,
April 1, 1865.
After my dispatch of last night I received a report from Gen. Pickett, who, with three of his own brigades and two of Gen. Johnson's, supported the cavalry under Gen. Fitz Lee near Five Forks, on the road from Dinwiddie Court-House to the South Side road. After considerable difficulty, and meeting resistance from the enemy at all points, Gen. Pickett forced his way to within less than a mile of Dinwiddie Court-House. By this time it was too dark for further operations, and Gen. Pickett resolved to return to Five Forks to protect his communication with the railroad. He inflicted considerable damage upon the enemy and took some prisoners. His own loss was severe, including a good many officers. Gen. Terry had his horse killed by a shell and was disabled himself. Gen. Fitz Lee's and Rosser's divisions were heavily engaged, but their loss was slight. Gen. W. H. F. Lee lost some valuable officers. Gen. Pickett did not retire from the vicinity of Dinwiddie Court-House until early this morning, when, his left flank being threatened by a heavy force, he withdrew to Five Forks, where he took position with Gen. W. H. F. Lee on his right, Fitz Lee and Rosser on his left, with Roberts' brigade on the White Oak road connecting with Gen. Anderson. The enemy attacked Gen. Roberts with a large force of cavalry, and after being once repulsed finally drove him back across Hatcher's Run.
A large force of infantry, believed to be the Fifth Corps, with other troops, turned Gen. Pickett's left and drove him back on the White Oak road, separating him from Gen. Fitz Lee, who was compelled to fall back across Hatcher's Run. Gen. Pickett's present position is not known. Gen. Fitz Lee reports that the enemy is massing his infantry heavily behind the cavalry in his front. The infantry that engaged Gen. Anderson yesterday has moved from his front toward our right, and is supposed to participate in the operations above described. Prisoners have been taken to-day from the Twenty-fourth Corps, and it is believed that most of that corps is now south of the James. Our loss to-day is not known. A report from Staunton represents that the Eighth Corps passed over the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad from the 20th to the 25th ultimo. Gen. Hancock is at Harper's Ferry with 2,000 men. One division of the Nineteenth Corps is at Winchester, with about 1,000 cavalry. The infantry at Winchester have marching orders, and all these troops are said to be destined for all his troops from Wolf Run Shoals and Fairfax Station, and to be concentrating them at Winchester.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
Bibliographic Information : Letter Reproduced from The War of The Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Volume 46, Serial No. 95, Pages 1263-1264, Broadfoot Publishing Company, Wilmington, NC, 1997.