when night came on the rebellion went down under an accumulation of agony and dread such as the world has seldom seen.
When the news first spread that Richmond
was to be evacuated, it was disbelieved.
The citizens, we have seen, had been kept in utter ignorance of their danger, and even supposed a victory had been achieved.
But the preparations at the Jefferson Davis house
and in the government offices betrayed the truth.
Wagons loaded with boxes and trunks were driven to the station of the Danville railroad, and the archives of the rebel government and the effects of the rebel president went off together as freight.
Next there came a street rumor of bloody fighting beyond Petersburg
, on the Southside
road, in which Pickett
's division was said to have met with fearful loss.
Nothing of this, however, was disclosed by the government, even to the clerks in the War Office; but the marching of veteran troops from the defences and the replacing of them hurriedly with militia indicated the emergency.
At two P. M. it was known that the national army had certainly broken through Lee
's lines and attained the Southside
Soon men in uniform were seen, some of them officers, hurrying away with their trunks; but they were not allowed to put them on the cars.
The legislature of Virginia escaped by the canal, and, in less than an hour after the first appearance of wagons in the streets, the population of Richmond
was involved in a panic.
Every road leading north was crowded with vehicles, which commanded any price.
Squads of local troops and reserves were marching