On this day 150 years ago, Confederate war clerk John B. Jones wrote in his diary about Lee's failed assault on Fort Stedman and Major General George E. Pickett's movement through Richmond. Pickett was headed for the right end of Lee's lines at Petersburg, near a crossroads named Five Forks.
March 26th.—Frost last night. Cloudy, cold, and windy to-day.
Suffered much yesterday and last night with disordered bowels—from cold. This, however, may relieve me of the distressing cough I have had for months.
After all, I fear Lee’s attempt on the enemy’s lines yesterday was a failure. We were compelled to relinquish the fort or battery we had taken, with all the guns we had captured. Our men were exposed to an enfilading fire, not being supported by the divisions intended to co-operate in the movement. The 600 prisoners were completely surprised—their pickets supposing our troops to be merely deserters. This indicates an awful state of things, the enemy being convinced that we are beaten, demoralized, etc.
There was a communication for the Secretary this morning, from “headquarters;” but being marked “confidential,” I did not open it, but sent it to Gen. Breckinridge.
Pickett’s division has been marching for Petersburg all the morning.