The Federal Army's Attack, 6:00 p.m. April 6, 1865
— Sailor's Creek Battlefield Historical State Park —
"We found a stream of muddy water a dozen feet wide..."
"The colonel's clear voice sounded ?ATTENTION'....Descending the hill; ?Prepare to cross a marsh!' was passed along the line....Three or four minutes later we found ourselves confronted by a hedge so high and so dense, it was impossible to see what was beyond. There was an involuntary pause-but only for an instant. Glancing around to find some available opening, I discovered the colors, some twenty paces on the left, had advanced about a yard and a half beyond the obstruction, and that every one was in their neighborhood had clustered around the breach thus made....Thinking I could clear a passage for my own men, I thrust my hands into and through the hedge, spread them apart and found a stream of muddy water a dozen feet wideo with the exclamation ?Company G, this way,' I boldly jumped for the middle of the stream expecting to land knee-deep in water. I went through the hedge and struck where I expected, but immersed above the sword belt, and with feet firmly imbedded it was impossible to stir them in the least.
Thoroughly startled at the idea that perchance I had jumped into a Virginia quicksand, I seized hold of the further bank and held on tightly. Finding I did not sink, I began working my feet gently to the right and left, soon extricated them from the mud and then clambered out...."
Around 6:00 pm?the Union army began its forward movement from the high ground around the Hillsman farm house. Being formed into two lines of battle, they soon reached Little Sailor's Creek, now flooded to the depth of two to four feet. Placing their weapons and ammunition boxes over their shoulders, they crossed over and, as General J. Warren Keifer noted "many fell on the plains and in the water, and those who reached the west bank were in more or less disorder."