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[305]

During the years 1863-1864-1865 I was the superintendent of the Confederate States Naval Academy. The steamer Patrick Henry was the school-ship and the seat of the academy. On the 1st day of April, 1865, we were lying at a wharf on the James river between Richmond and Powhatan. We had on board some sixty midshipmen and a full corps of professors. The midshipmen were well drilled in infantry tactics, and all of the professors save one had served in the army or navy.

On Sunday, April 2, 1865, I received about noon a dispatch from Hon. S. K. Mallory, Secretary of the Navy, to the following effect: ‘Have the corps of midshipmen, with the proper officers, at the Danville depot to-day at 6 P. M.; the commanding officer to report to the Quartermaster-General of the army.’

Upon calling at the Navy Department I learned that the city was to be evacuated immediately, and that the services of the corps were required to take charge of and guard the Confederate treasure.

Accordingly at 6 o'clock I was at the depot with all my officers and men—perhaps something over one hundred, all told—and was then put in charge of a train of cars, on which was packed the Confederate treasure, and the money belonging to the banks of Richmond.

About half a million.

I will here remark that neither the Secretary of the Treasury, nor the Treasurer were with the treasure. The senior officer of the Treasury present was a cashier, and he informed me, to the best of my recollection, that there was about $500,000 in gold, silver, and bullion. I saw the boxes containing it, many times in the weary thirty days I had it under my protection, but I never saw the coin.

Sometime in the evening the President, his Cabinet and other officials left the depot for Danville. The train was well packed. General Breckenridge, Secretary of War, however, did not start with the President. He remained with me at the depot until I got off, which was not until somewhere near midnight. The General went out of the city on horseback.

Our train being heavily loaded and crowded with passengers—even the roofs and platform-steps occupied—went very slowly. How we got by Amelia Courthouse without falling in with Sheridan's men,


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