| American History Stories, Volume IV|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Stories of the great conflict from the time Lincoln became president and the southern states seceded, through the battles of Bull Run, Shiloh, Antietam, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, until the close of the war. Includes poems, songs, and illustrations commemorating the events. Ages 8-12 |
EVACUATION OF RICHMOND
 A Richmond newspaper at that time, writing of this day,
"It was late in the afternoon before the people really
began to know that their city was indeed lost to them.
Wagons on the streets were being hastily loaded with boxes,
trunks, etc., and driven to the Danville depot. . . .
Carriages suddenly, arose to a value that was astounding; and
ten, fifteen, and even a hundred dollars was offered for a
carriage. Suddenly, as if by magic, the streets became
filled with men, walking as though for a wager, and behind
them excited negroes with trunks, bundles and luggage of
every description. All over the city it was the
same—wagons, trunks, band-boxes, and their owners, filling the
streets. The banks were all open, and people were as
busy as bees removing their money. Hundreds of thousands
of dollars of paper money were destroyed, both State
and Confederate. Night came, and with it came only worse
confusion. There was no sleep for human eyes in Richmond that night.
"The City Council had met in the evening and resolved
to destroy all the liquor in the city, to avoid the temptation
to drink at such a time. About the hour of midnight
the work commenced, under the direction of citizens in all
the wards. Hundreds of barrels of liquor were rolled into
 the streets and the heads knocked in. The gutters ran with
liquor freshet, and the fumes filled the air. Fine cases
of bottled liquors were tossed into the street from
third-story windows and wrecked into a thousand pieces. As
the work progressed some straggling soldiers, retreating
through the city, managed to get hold of a quantity of the
liquor. From that moment law and order ceased to exist.
Many of the stores were robbed, and the sidewalks were
covered with broken glass, where the thieves had smashed
the windows. The air was filled with wild cries of distress
or the yells of the robbers.
An order had been issued from Gen. Ewell's headquarters
to fire the four principal tobacco ware-houses in the city.
The ware-houses were fired. The rams in the James River
were blown up. The Richmond, Virginia, and another
one were all blown to the four winds of heaven.
"The bridges leading out of the city were also fired, and
were soon wrapped in flames.
"Morning broke upon a scene such as those who witnessed it can
never forget. The roar of an immense conflagration
sounded in their ears, tongues of flame leaped from street to street."
By seven o'clock, Monday morning, the Confederate
troops were out of the city, leaving Richmond in flames.
The streets were still filled with crowds of men and women,
black and white, loaded down with their plunder from
burning houses and stores.
 Here was a negro with a bag of coffee or of sugar upon his
back; another with a bag crammed with shoes or hats; a
third with several pieces of cotton or woollen cloth on his
head, or with an armful of ready-made clothing; a woman
with a dozen hoop-skirts; and even children with boxes
of thread, ribbons, and other small goods. The Babel of
their voices was almost drowned in the roar of the flames
and the explosion of gunpowder. Capitol Square was
crowded with frightened women and children, huddled
among piles of furniture and household goods saved from
their burning homes. The Confederate rear-guard had
scarcely left when a cry of "The Yankees! the Yankees!"
arose in Main Street.
In marched the Union troops. As they entered the city,
bursts of cheers went up from each regiment. "Richmond
was taken!" and the war was really over.
Lee at once left Petersburg, hastening with his forces
towards the West. Grant followed close upon him. There
was little need to pursue them; for so broken and exhausted
were they, that thousands threw down their arms, too
weak and ill to carry them. On the 9th of April, Grant and
Lee met, and agreed upon the terms of surrender. It did
not take them very long. The "Army of Virginia" was to
disband and go home, each man promising to fight no more
against the Union.
Lee rode back to his camp, sad and silent. His men
 received him with a cheer. He looked at them sorrowfully
and said, "Men, we have fought the war together; and I
have done the best I could for you."
On the 12th of April, the Confederate army came out for
its last parade. Grant generously kept his troops out of
sight, while Lee's men stacked their guns, and covered
them over with the Confederate flags, in sign of surrender.
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