Five Forks, VA

[Sheridan's Charge at Five Forks by Kurz & Allison - Wikipedia]

Date(s): April 1, 1865

Location: Please click on link below for map.

Five Forks, Dinwiddie, Virginia, United States

Campaign(s): Appomattox Campaign (March-April 1865)

Battles in Campaign:

Situation:

  • Following the Battle of Dinwiddie Court House on March 31st, Pickett learned of reinforcements arriving from the Federal V Corps and wanted to pull back to a position behind Hatcher's Run.

  • However, Lee ordered Pickett to stop short of Hatcher's Run and hold the crossroads of Five Forks with his infantry division and three cavalry divisions.

  • Pickett's troops built a log and dirt defensive line about 1.75 miles long on the White Oak Road, guarding the two flanks with cavalry.

  • Sheridan's plan of attack was to pressure the entire line lightly with his cavalry troopers, pinning it in position, while he massed all of the V Corps, under Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, on the Confederate left flank.

Commanders:

  • Union: Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan

  • Confederate: Maj. Gen. George Pickett

Principal Forces:

  • Union: Corps

  • Confederate:

Description:

  • Gen. Robert E. Lee ordered Pickett with his infantry division and Munford’s, W. H. F. Lee’s, and Rosser’s cavalry divisions to hold the vital crossroads of Five Forks at all hazard.

  • On April 1, while Sheridan’s cavalry pinned the Confederate force in position, the V Corps under Maj. Gen. G. K. Warren attacked and overwhelmed the Confederate left flank, taking many prisoners.

  • Sheridan personally directed the attack, which extended Lee’s Petersburg lines to the breaking point.

  • Loss of Five Forks threatened Lee’s last supply line, the South Side Railroad.

  • The next morning, Lee informed Jefferson Davis that Petersburg and Richmond must be evacuated.

  • Dissatisfied with his performance at Five Forks, Sheridan relieved Warren of command of the V Corps.

Photo Gallery2:

Attack on the Angle

Showing Positions of Confederate Troops and Attacks by Sheridan and Warren

Aerial Photograph Showing Five Roads

The Battle of Five Forks

Digging In

Confederate troops Under Maj. Gen. George Pickett constructed earthworks.

Death of Col. William Pegram

Memorial to Soldiers of Both Sides Who Fought at Five Forks

 

Slide Presentation3: Appomattox Campaign

Classification4: A

Casualties5:

  • Union: 830

  • Confederate: 2,950

Results: Union Victory

Battlefield Website: 

Lodging and Restaurants: Virginia Tourism

Recommended Resources:


1 National Park Service summary.

2 Please click on the image to enlarge it. You may copy the images if you include the following note and link with each image: "Courtesy of civil-war-journeys.org."

3 Slide Presentation Published on 6/23/07. Click on link to view as web-based slide show.

4 Classification:

  • A - having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war

  • B - having a direct and decisive influence on their campaign

  • C - having observable influence on the outcome of a campaign

  • D - having a limited influence on the outcome of their campaign or operation but achieving or affecting important local objectives

5 Casualties are someone killed, injured, wounded, captured or missing.

Revised 04/06/2013