“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Appomattox Court House in Appomattox County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Gordonís Attack April 9, 1865

Appomattox Court House National Historical Park

Gordonís Attack April 9, 1865 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 20, 2015
1. Gordonís Attack April 9, 1865 Marker
Inscription.  Prior to midnight on April 8, 1865, with Federal troops closing in on three sides and the line of retreat along the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road blocked, General R. E. Lee held a Council of War with his ranking generals to discuss options—surrender or try to break through. Believing only Federal cavalry stood in the way, the council agreed upon a last ditch attempt to breakout.

General John Gordonís infantry, already closest to the point of attack, took position during the night along Tibbs Lane, supported on the right by General Fitz Leeís Cavalry Corps and General Armistead Longís artillery. About 9,000 Confederate soldiers prepared for the assault.

Opposing the Confederates was a Federal cavalry brigade led by Colonel Charles Smith, who had deployed across the intersection of the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road and the Oakville Road. Smith had about 1,200 troopers and two cannon under Lieutenant James Lord.

After receiving scattered artillery fire since daybreak, Gordonís troops advanced in a left wheel spearheaded by General Bryan Grimesí division. A member of the 1st North Carolina Sharpshooters,
Gordonís Attack April 9, 1865 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 20, 2015
2. Gordonís Attack April 9, 1865 Marker
Henry Bahnson noted: “I never saw [a charge] so magnificently executed as this. Our men advanced as regularly as though on parade and as the shells and grape ploughed through the ranks the files closed up without faltering. [The men] broke into a double quick and with the old time yell and an irresistible rush they carried the enemyís position . . . .” General Robertsí North Carolina cavalry brigade charged ahead and captured Lordís two artillery pieces.

Gordon's men drove Smith's brigade from the ridge and repulsed several counter attacks before reinforcements of Federal infantry from the Army of the James arrived to block the road once again. After initial clashes with the Federal infantry, Gordonís command withdrew across the Appomattox River to the Northeast and couriers with truce flags advanced from the Confederate lines. Fitz Lee escaped to the Northwest, with the cavalry divisions of Generals Rosser and Munford.

“The division had not proceeded very far before [the] brigades were exposed to a murderous artillery fire, but, instead of halting and recoiling, they promptly charged and captured it.”

Shortly thereafter:
“An infantry captain was captured and brought before me, and gave me the first information that [Federal] General Ord with ten thousand infantry
Tibbs Lane & Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 20, 2015
3. Tibbs Lane & Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road
was in our front.”

Major General Bryan Grimes

As the last of Gordonís corps retreated to the Appomattox River valley 25 volunteers of the 4th and 14th North Carolina Infantry under the direction of Captain Wilson Jenkins remained behind, near here, to slow the Federal pursuit The stalwart band fought until nearly surrounded and forced to surrender.

Major General John B. Gordon
Private Henry T. Bahnson
Major General Bryan Grimes
Captain Wilson Jenkins
Erected by National Park Service.
Location. 37° 22.647′ N, 78° 47.964′ W. Marker is in Appomattox Court House, Virginia, in Appomattox County. Marker can be reached from Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road north of Old Courthouse Road (Virginia Route 24), on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 113 National Park Drive, Appomattox VA 24522, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Tibbs Lane (here, next to this marker); McLean House (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); North Carolina (about 600 feet away); Wartime Landscape (approx. 0.2 miles away); Appomattox Court House (approx. 0.2 miles
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away); April 1865 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Clover Hill Tavern (approx. 0.2 miles away); Sears Lane (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Appomattox Court House.
Also see . . .  Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. (Submitted on June 21, 2015.)
Categories. War, US Civil

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Credits. This page was last revised on May 16, 2018. This page originally submitted on June 21, 2015, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 350 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 21, 2015, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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