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[153] position and social standing, had more than usual opportunity for observing and knowing the trend of events. But I am sure neither he nor one of his associates who lived with us had the least idea that the end, if near, was at all so imminent as it proved to be. Among the people generally I do not think it was seriously thought of, certainly, boys like myself did not do so. The fact is, though several times threatened by raiders, and although we had often heard the cry, ‘The Yankees are coming,’ yet, Richmond had come to be regarded, through its long practical siege, as an impregnable Gibraltar, and the army defending it as invincible as a Grecian phalanx. Time and again ‘Uncle Bob,’ as the soldiers lovingly and familiarly called General Lee, had hurled back the advancing forces of the Federal army, and it was felt that as long as Lee stood for the defence of Richmond, Richmond was safe. I remember, indeed, that as a boy I felt some anxiety when the conqueror of Vicksburg was placed in command of the Army of the Potomac; but it never seriously occurred to me, or to any one else, that Lee could not successfully cope with General Grant, and this conviction grew steadily stronger as the former defeated the latter in battle after battle, from the Wilderness to the Crater before Petersburg. On the other hand, the people little realized with what an ever-increasing superior force General Lee had to contend, how attenuated his lengthened line of defence had become, and how decimated and nearly starved his army was. But however explained, the fact remains—I am sure it was a fact among my playmates—that as late as Sunday morning, April 3, 1865—the fatal day—there was hardly a thought among the the people that such a thing as the evacuation of the city was either near or probable. Final success was expected. Confidence prevailed. A sense of security remained, except, as may have been the case, in high official circles. Mr. Davis, of course, must have known much of which I and 10,000 like me were absolutely ignorant; but even Mr. Davis was in church on that eventful day, seemingly as placid and confident as others, and certainly as attentive to the services as any one present. As there was nothing, so far at least as the people generally knew, in either the political or military condition of things to betoken the approaching collapse, neither did external nature suggest—supposing it to have such power—anything of the kind. There were no physical portends for superstition to feed on. On the contrary, the day was as perfect a day as Richmond had ever seen; the budding trees, the flowers of spring, the balmy atmosphere, the clear sky, bright sunlight, all combining to make it


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