previous next


[155] church was the fashionable one of the city, nothing more is intended than that a large percentage of the wealth, the refinement, the culture of Richmond was found among its members. Moreover, officialism for the most part found its religious home in this church. Here General Lee worshipped when in the city, and here also Mr. Davis and his family were seen Sunday after Sunday, and many others whose names stood high in both the legislative and executive departments of the Confederate Government.

In this church, it was my privilege to be brought up, and its dear old rector was my father in the faith, as ever Paul was such to Timothy. With boys of that day—certainly with me—it was as customary to go to church on Sunday as it was to go to school during the week, and this memorable Sunday found me in my proper place, and yet, by a strange accident, not exactly in my place either. Our famliy pew was No. 15, and here along with the family I usually sat, but on this particular Sunday, for some reason I cannot now recall, I was allowed to go up into the gallery, which I well remember to have considered a great privilege and liberty. The church on that day was thronged as usual, and my seat on the front row of pews was on exact line with the President's pew down stairs, so that I not only saw him, but had a full view of the congregation except that portion immediately beneath me. It was inspiring to look down on that throng of beautiful women and fine-looking men assembled to worship Almighty God. But this was as nothing compared to the scene destined to take place then and there. For it was here that Mr. Davis was notified that General Lee's lines had been broken, and Richmond would have to be abandoned. How can I describe how this was done, and the wild terrific scene which followed. The morning service proper had been concluded, and Dr. Minnigerode was delivering one of his stirring and fervid communion addresses (for the communion was to follow), when the sexton of the church was seen to walk up the aisle. He was a large, pompous, swaggering kind of a fellow, whose Sunday costume at the time was a faded blue suit with brass buttons and a shirt with waving ruffles at the bosom and wrists. His supreme delight, aside from keeping us boys in order, was seemingly to walk up the aisle with a message for some one. On this occasion his manner was in perfect keeping with his usual consequential air, only it was more so, for this time he was the bearer of a message to the President of the Southern Confederacy. Gently and respectfully touching Mr. Davis on the shoulder, he handed him something, whereupon the latter immediately arose and


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Jefferson Davis (7)
C. C. Lee (4)
Paul (2)
Charles Minnigerode (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: