The day has been very warm and sultry. I have been quite unwell today and did no duty, the regt. had Company drill AM. We drew one days rations of Softbread and some Pickled Onions. The boys here in camp have peace declaired a dozen times a day but it dont seam to come yet. I read 3 Chapt. today.
Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Confederate government fled west after abandoning the capital at Richmond and the supply base of Petersburg, the night of 2-3 April. Union troops pursued vigorously in what became known as the Appomattox Campaign.
Rebel forces were to rendezvous at Amelia Court House on the Richmond & Danville Railroad, then fall back to Danville or Lunchburg, Virginia. On the 3rd, advance units of Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer‘s cavalry (in Gen. Sheridan’s command) caught up with Confederate units of their cavalry rear guard at Namozine Church, south of the Appomattox River. Custer’s younger brother, Cpt. Tom Custer, captured 3 Confederate officers and 11 enlisted men, with the battle flag of the 2nd NC Cavalry, for which he received the Medal of Honor (Tom perished with his brother at Little Bighorn).
Lee arrived at Amelia Court House on the 4th, only to find only a portion of his expected supplies had made it out of Richmond. Stopping to forage an empty countryside allowed time for Union cavalry to block the railroad south at Jetersville. On the 5th, a brigade of Maj. Gen. George Crook’s Union cavalry (in Sheridan’s command) destroyed part of the Confederate wagon train near Paineville, VA, taking up to 1,000 prisoners. The Federal horsemen were then intercepted by Brig. Gen. Martin Gary’s Rebel cavalry (in Gen. Fithugh Lee’s command) near Amelia Springs, in a running fight over three miles.
That evening, Lee started moving his troops out of Amelia Court House further west toward Lynchburg. Two Union Army divisions in Gen. Humphrey’s II Corps observed the movement and gave pursuit, but were held off by the Confederate rear guard. Importantly, Maj. Gen. Meade thought Lee remained at Amelia Court House, and sent the rest of the Union army chasing shadows the next morning.