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[98] Lee, announcing the fall of Petersburg, the partial destruction of his army, and the immediate necessity for flight. Although he 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. Those who are acquainted with the character of Mrs. Davis, can readily imagine with what energy and determination she must have prepared her family for flight, and with what rage and disappointment she resigned the sceptre she had wielded over the social and fashionable life of ‘Richmond on the James.’ They may be sure, too, that although heartsick and disgusted, there was nothing irresolute or vascillating in her actions. At nightfall everything was in readiness; even the gold then remaining in the treasury, not exceeding in all $40,000, was packed among the baggage, and under cover of darkness the President of the Confederacy, accompanied by his family and three members of his Cabinet, Breckinridge, Benjamin, and Reagan, drove rapidly to the train which had been prepared to carry them from Richmond. This train, it is said, was the one which had carried provisions to Amelia Courthouse for Lee's hard-pressed and hungry army, and having been ordered to Richmond, had taken those supplies to that place, whei e they were abandoned for a more ignoble freight. As a matter of course the starving rebel soldiers suffered, but Davis succeeded in reaching Danville in safety, where he rapidly recovered from the fright he had sustained, and astonished his followers by a proclamation as bombastic and empty as his fortunes were straightened and desperate.

Whether the tone of this extract is that of chivalrous generosity and courtesy, or of coarse and bitter vulgarity, is a minor question, which it is not necessary to discuss. Whether its statements are true or false, is one of more interest, with regard to which it will be found on analysis that there is but one positive truth in the whole passage. There are at least four positive falsehoods in relation to matters of fact, susceptible of proof; one assertion of a sort perhaps not capable of being finally tested by positive evidence, but contrary to the statements of witnesses and to all moral and circumstantial proof to. which it can be subjected; and two others, with regard to which I am not fully informed, but which are at least improbable and not in harmony with known facts.

To come to particulars, the one truth is that contained in the first sentence, that a certain telegram was received on a certain

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R. E. Lee (2)
Jeffersen Davis (2)
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