Chapter 58: the President's account of the evacuation of Richmond.I give Mr. Davis's story of the evacuation of Richmond in his own words.
On Sunday, April 2d, while I was in St. Paul's Church, General Lee's telegram announcing his speedy withdrawal from Petersburg and the consequent necessity for evacuating Richmond, was handed me. I quietly left the church. The occurrence probably attracted attention, but the people had been beleaguered, had known me too often to receive notice of threatened attacks, and the congregation of St. Paul's was too refined, to make a scene at anticipated danger. I went to my office and assembled the heads of departments and bureaus, as far as they could be found on a day when all the offices were closed, and gave the needful instruction for our removal that night, simultaneously with General Lee's from Petersburg. The event was foreseen, and some preparations had been made for it, though, as it came sooner  than was expected, there was yet much to be done. The executive papers were arranged for removal. This occupied myself and staff until late in the afternoon. By this time the report that Richmond was to be evacuated had spread through the town, and many who saw me walking toward my residence left their houses to inquire whether the report was true. Upon my admission of the painful fact, qualified, however, by the expression of my hope that we should under better auspices again return, they all, the ladies especially, with generous sympathy and patriotic impulse responded, “If the success of the cause requires you to give up Richmond, we are content.” The affection and confidence of this noble people in the hour of disaster were more distressing to me than complacent and unjust censure would have been. ... Being alone in Richmond, a few arrangements needful for my personal wants were soon made after reaching home. Then leaving all else in the care of the house-keeper, I waited until notified of the time I would depart, and going to the station, started for Danville, whither I supposed General Lee would proceed with his army.Here he promptly proceeded to put the town in a state of defence. Energetic efforts  were made to collect supplies for General Lee's army. Upon his arrival at Danville, President Davis wrote to Mrs. Davis as follows:
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 associated with him in a time of great trial.