and defeated his antagonists, taking 2 guns and 600 prisoners.
, who had hitherto held the defenses of Richmond
north of the James
, had joined Lee
at 10 A. M. this day, with Benning
's brigade; and A. P. Hill
, on Lee
's left, now ordered a charge by Heth
to regain some of the works carried by Parke
in his assault.
The attack was so vigorous and persistent that our men holding City Point
were ordered up to Parke
was shot dead while reconnoitering this day. He was among the ablest of Lee
was still held by the Rebel
army; but Lee
saw that it could not be held much longer.
His heavy losses — by this time exceeding 10,000 men — and the utter demolition of his right, rendered it morally certain that to hold on was to insure the capture or destruction of his army; and well he knew that his veterans were the last hope of the Rebellion
was now at liberty to throw forward his left to the Appomattox
; while it was morally certain that his cavalry would soon clutch the railroad junction at Burkesville
, which had now become the jugular vein of the gasping Confederacy.
At 10 1/2 A. M., therefore, he telegraphed to Davis
a dispatch, containing very nearly these words:
My lines are broken in three places.
Richmond must be evacuated this evening.
That message found Mr. Davis
, at 11 A: M., in church, where it was handed to him, amid an awful hush; and he immediately went quietly, soberly out — never to return as President
of the Confederacy
No word was spoken; but the whole assemblage felt
that the missive he had so hastily perused bore words of doom.
Though. the handwriting was not blazoned on the wall, it needed no Daniel
to declare its import.
But no one can duly depict that last afternoon and night of Confederate rule in Richmond
but an eyewitness: so let Pollard
narrate for us the visible collapse and fall of the Slave Power
in its chosen metropolis.
After stating how, upon Mr. Davis
's withrawal from church, “the rumor was caught up in the streets that Richmond
was to be evacuated, and was soon carried to the ends of the city,” he proceeds:
Men, women, and children, rushed from the churches, passing from lip to lip news of the impending fall of Richmond.
And yet, it was difficult to believe it. To look up to the calm, beautiful sky of that Spring day, unassailed by one single noise of battle, to watch the streets, unvexed by artillery or troops, stretching away into the quiet, hazy atmosphere, and believe that the capital of the Confederacy, so peaceful, so apparently secure, was in a few hours to be the prey of the enemy, and to be wrapped in the infernal horrors of a conflagration I
It was late in the afternoon when the signs of evacuation became apparent to the incredulous.
Wagons on the streets were being hastily loaded at the departments with boxes, trunks, &c., and driven to the Danville depot.
Those who had determined to evacuate with the fugitive Government looked on with amazement; then, convinced of the fact, rushed to follow the Government's example.
Vehicles suddenly rose to a premium value that was astounding; and ten, fifteen, and even a hundred dollars, in gold or Federal currency, was offered for a conveyance.
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, bandboxes, and their owners, a mass of hurrying fugitives, filling the streets.
The banks were all open, and depositors were as busy as bees removing their specie deposits; and the directors were equally active in getting off their bullion.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars of