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The First Federal to enter Richmond. [from the Richmond Dispatch, February 10, 1893.]

Who was entitled to this Distinction?—Major A. H. Stevens.

In reference to an article in your paper of recent date, ‘The First to Enter Richmond,’ I would say much has been written from time to time on this point, and I would herewith quote from the Century Magazine for June, 1890:

Major Atherton H. Stevens, Jr., of the Fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry, raised the first national flag over the State-House in Richmond on the occasion referred to. Major Stevens was provost-marshal of the Twenty-fifth Corps, commanded by General Weitzel. Major Stevens was that morning in command of the most advanced party of the Union army. It was to him the Mayor surrendered the city. After receiving the surrender, Major Stevens galloped into town at the head of a “small detachment,” and, ascending to the roof of the State-House, hoisted two small national flags—in fact, the guidons of the squadron of the Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry, which he commanded.

It was several hours after that before Lieutenant de P. came on the ground, in company with Weitzel's staff. This officer (Lieutenant de P.), accompanied by myself, went to the roof to hoist the flag brought by him. We found the guidons at the masthead; these we lowered and replaced them with this flag, which was, by the way, I believe, the same one that had been first hoisted at Mobile on the capture of that city.

There was no personal risk whatever in raising the second flag, but at the time when the small detachment galloped in, the streets were filled with disorderly characters, and the chances were thought to be many of a collision with them, or a shot from an ambushed enemy. Therefore, whatever credit may be due to the officer who first raised the national flag over Richmond should be given him

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Atherton H. Stevens (5)
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