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Varina Davis, Jefferson Davis: Ex-President of the Confederate States of America, A Memoir by his Wife, Volume 2 5 1 Browse Search
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er encamping there for a time, had crossed the river and moved up to Richmond; yet, when at the close of the battles around Richmond McClellan retreated and was pursued toward the James River, we had no maps of the country in which we were operating; our generals were ignorant of the roads, and their guides knew little more than the way from their homes to Richmond. It was this faaldefect inpreparation, and the erroneous answers of the guides, that caused General Lee first to post Holmes and Wise, when they came down the River road, at New Market, where, he was told, was the route that McClellan must pursue in his retreat to the James. Subsequently he learned that there was another road, by the Willis church, which would better serve the purpose of the retreating foe. The President was on the field every day during the seven days fight, and slept on it every night, and in the sixth day's fight he had taken his position in a house near the field and received a message from General
ght intrenchment of earth, which Grant assaulted all along the line. The assault was repulsed with extraordinary slaughter. In the short space of one hour 13,000 men were placed hors de combat. Grant ordered a second assault in the afternoon. The men sullenly refused to advance. After this battle General Grant gyrated toward the James River, below Richmond, crossed at City Point, and endeavored to surprise and capture Petersburg. In this he was thwarted by Generals Beauregard and Wise, with the militia and homeguards. He then concentrated his army south of the Appomattox River and laid siege to the city. During the campaign reinforcements reached General Lee to the extent of 14,400 men, making 78,400 as the aggregate of all troops engaged under him from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor. General Grant received 51,000 additional men during the same period, bringing his total up to 192, 60 men employed by him from the Rapidan to the James. The Federal loss in the b
Varina Davis, Jefferson Davis: Ex-President of the Confederate States of America, A Memoir by his Wife, Volume 2, Chapter 58: the President's account of the evacuation of Richmond. (search)
y necessities of the case. We are arranging an executive office where the current business may be transacted here, and do not propose at this time definitely to fix upon a point for a seat of government in the future. I am unwilling to leave Virginia, and do not know where, within her borders, the requisite houses for the departments could be found. While employed in preparing for the defence of Danville, no trustworthy information in regard to Lee's army was received, until Lieutenant John Sargent Wise of Virginia, who declined to be paroled at Appomattox, arrived, from whom it was learned that when he left Lee's army, it was about to be surrendered. Other unofficial information soon followed, of such circumstantial character as to confirm these reports. How Mr. Davis bore defeat is best described by the following letter, written by Mr. Davis's faithful friend, M. H. Clarke, whose opportunities of knowing the President were better than those of another less intimately associa