from James river
The brigades on Hatcher
's run are cut off from us; enemy have broken through our lines and intercepted between us and them, and there is no bridge over which they can cross the Appomattox
this side of Goode
's, which are not very far from the Danville railroad.
Our only chance, then, of concentrating our forces is to do so near Danville railroad, which I shall endeavor to do at once.
I advise that all preparations be made for leaving Richmond
I will advise you later, according to circumstances.’
At fifty-five minutes past four P. M., he said again: ‘I think the Danville
road will be safe until tomorrow.’
Accordingly, during the afternoon Jefferson Davis
and his chief confederates left the city, where for nearly four years they had defied the government to which they once had sworn allegiance.
The exit of the rebel rule was as discreditable as its origin was dishonorable.
The population of Richmond
received no warning of the coming disaster.
Not a rumor of the defeat at Five Forks
had reached the rebel capital.
On the contrary, it was announced and believed that a victory had been gained.1 Davis
was at church when Lee
's telegram was handed to him. He read it, and left his prayers unfinished, while the clergyman dismissed his congregation at once, notifying them that the local forces were to assemble at three P. M., and afternoon service would not be held.
The militia were hurried to the defences to relieve Longstreet
's veterans, but still no public announcement of the ruin was made.
and his cabinet fled by a special train, leaving the