Sailor’s Creek - Lockett Farm - April 6, 1865
American Battlefield Trust’s map of the fighting at Lockett Farm at the Battle of Sailor’s Creek, Virginia on April 6, 1865
On the rainy morning of April 6, 1865, skirmish fire announced that Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys’ Union II Corps had spied Robert E. Lee’s westward movement and was now in pursuit. At the same time, Union General Phil H. Sheridan’s cavalry rode parallel to Lee's line of retreat, launching hit-and-run strikes on the Rebel column. Confederate troops commanded by Generals Richard H. Anderson and Richard S. Ewell halted at Holt's Corner to fend off the Federal attackers, thus creating a two-mile gap between Anderson and the nearest friendly unit. General George A. Custer thurst his horsemen into that gap, netting a number of artillery pieces in the vicinity of Marshall’s Crossroads. Making matters worse, Ewell caught sight of another Federal corps—Horatio Wright’s VI Corps—approaching from the east. With Yankee cavalry blocking the road to Farmville and infantry nipping at its heels, a sizable portion of Lee’s army was caught in a vice that was threatening to crush them.
After the alarm at Holt’s Corner, Gen. John B. Gordon’s Confederate Second Corps and the supply train were diverted to the north in the hopes of reuniting them with the rest of the army. However, the Union II Corps under Humphreys was in close pursuit, forcing Gordon to make a series of stands on high ground as the train withdrew. Only when the wagons became bottle-necked at the Double Bridges over Sailor’s Creek, did the Federals get within striking distance. At around 5 PM, the Humphreys’ men attacked the Southern wagon guard. The bulk of Gordon’s force was driven across to the opposite bank before darkness ended the fighting on this part of the field.