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[248] Brown, of my staff, to Mayor Mayo with the document, and requested him to call a meeting of the Common Council to give their opinion as to the measures proper to be taken. After a free discussion with some of the Council and by their advice, I issued a circular to the ‘merchants and owners of cotton and tobacco,’ embodying the substance of your order and the law that accompanied it. This I entrusted to those gentlemen and to Major Isaac N. Carrington, Provost-Marshal, for distribution. Being informed a few hours later that it was misunderstood as to take effect at once, I substituted another, stating expressly that the ‘necessity had not yet arisen.’ Together with Mr. Scott, a tobacco-owner and councilman, I visited and inspected all the warehouses containing tobacco, and after consulting the keepers, we concluded they could be burned without danger of a general conflagration. I gave instructions to Major Carrington to make the necessary arrangements, and requested Mr. Scott and the other members of the Council to consult with him and give him their views. The Ordnance Department offered to furnish barrels of turpentine to mix with the tobacco so as to insure its burning; but this I declined, for fear of setting fire to the city. I sent for the Mayor and several of the most prominent citizens, earnestly urged upon them the danger of mob-violence, should we be forced to evacuate and the entrance of Federal troops be delayed, and begged them to endeavor to organize a volunteer guard force for such an emergency, proffering the necessary arms. I regret to say but one man volunteered, and the rioters, as predicted, were unchecked. On the night of Saturday, 1st April, I received a dispatch from General Longstreet, telling me he was going to the south side with two divisions, that Kershaw would be left on the lines, directing me to move whatever troops I could collect down the Darbytown road, and to ride by his headquarters for further instructions. I left my staff to see to the movements and collection of troops (of which only the cadets and three battalions of convalescents from the hospitals were in town), and rode down, but General Longstreet had gone before I reached his headquarters, and I received orders from his Acting Adjutant-General, Colonel Latrobe, to relieve and send forward two brigades left on picket, which was done soon after sunrise by Colonel Shipp, commanding the cadets and convalescents. At 10 A. M. of Sunday I received a message from Major Chestney, my Acting Adjutant-General, to return at once to the city, and on doing so received the order for the evacuation, and to destroy the stores which could not be removed. All that time allowed was done.


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