received a telegram from Lee
announcing the fall of Petersburg
, the partial destruction of his army, and the immediate necessity of flight.”
On that point I make this statement: “On the Sunday referred to, I went by the War Department on my way to church.
When at the department I was informed of two dispatches just received from General Lee
, stating briefly the circumstances which made it necessary for him to withdraw his army from its position in front of Richmond
at seven o'clock that evening, and that it would be necessary for the government archives and public property to be removed at once.
On receiving this intelligence, not knowing that Mr. Davis
had already received it, I walked toward his residence, which was a few hundred yards off, to confer with him about it, and on the way met him and Governor Lubbock
, of his staff.
We three then walked on to the Executive office.
He then assembled his Cabinet, and sent for the Governor
and the Mayor
Directions were then given to prepare the public archives for removal, and measures were considered and directions given to secure, as far as practicable, good order and safety to persons and property in the city until it should be surrendered.”
In this paper it is also said that, “Although he (Mr. Davis
) could not have been entirely unprepared for this intelligence, it appears that he did not receive it with self-possession or dignity, but with tremulous and nervous haste; like a weak man in the hour of misfortune, he left the house of worship and hurried home, where he and his more resolute wife spent the rest of the day in packing their personal baggage.”
And it is added that, “Those who are acquainted with the personal character of Mrs. Davis
can readily imagine with what energy and determination she must have prepared her family for flight,” etc. And that, “They may believe, too, that although heartsick and disgusted, there was nothing irresolute or vacillating in her actions.”
I would express my surprise, if I could be surprised now by anything of this kind, that such a statement should come from any respectable source.
Now, the truth is, Mr. Davis
did not, “with tremulous and nervous haste, hurry home to his more resolute wife.”
From where I met him he went directly to the Executive office, where he remained nearly all day, and, if I remember right, a part of the night, looking after and giving directions in relation to public affairs, and seeming to take no notice of his private matters.
He did not go to where his wife was, or act with her in preparing for flight; for neither she nor their children were in Richmond
, or had been for three or four weeks before that time.
And I am sure there is