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SOCIAL CONDITION OF RICHMOND.
was absolutely magnificent. This was while M'Clellan was holding his great army at Washington waiting for the weather to improve. The president of the Confederacy was often seen riding on horseback through the city with one of his children before him. It was thought to be an affecting sight..
Difficulties in do
By degrees, however, things changed. Speculators, Decline of patriotic gamblers, and persons of bad character sentiment. flocked into the new metropolis. The blockade began to be felt. The vilest extortions were practiced by dealers in provisions. They ran up the price of coffee to fifty dollars per pound. Dried leaves of the sage, willow, currant, were substituted for tea. The president declined in public esteem; his arbitrary control of military affairs irritated the chief generals. It was remarked that the first anniversary of the fall of Sumter was signalized by the fall of Pulaski. Then came M'Clellan's peninsular campaign, and trouble in the domestic economy of Richmond. It mestic economy. was very hard, our fair informant plaintively says, to procure a dinner at all. Then followed the Chickahominy battles. "The month of July can never be forgotten; we lived in one immense hospital; we breathed the vapors of a charnel-house." The Confeder ate Congress, on M'Clellan's approach, had run away; when the members returned in August after he was gone, they were unmercifully twitted for their flight by the women. The chief magistrate, embittered by the course of events, had now become a stern autocrat; he kept both houses of Congress in mortal terror. A public. The president be- clamor arose that his cabinet should be comes unpopular, changed. He turned a deaf ear to it. It was said that his obstinacy was strengthened by the flattery of the parasites around him—the dependents on his will. In his first report to the permanent Congress he
had represented the financial condition as one of safety;
A gloom settles on
RICHMOND AS A CAPITAL.
The inevitable hour struck at last. Richmond, abandoned and defenseless, stood alone in presence of the Great Power it had defied. The Confederate authorities had fled, and had given orders to set it on fire. In vain the inhabitants, pallid with terror, implored to be spared that atrocity. With exquisite wickedness, the hose of the fire-engines had been cut. There was nothing to stop the devouring flames. An unparalleled conflagration was the result. Richmond, once the great mart of the internal slave-trade, was entered by conquering regiments of negro troops. They came through the smoke, amidst blazing houses, bursting shells, and explod ing magazines, singing "Old John Brown." They came, not to revenge, but to protect.
And the republic founded by Washington, a Virginian, forgetting in a moment the long agony from famine by the she had been made to endure, stretched
and its people saved
forth both her hands to succor and sustain bleeding and fainting Virginia. Men, women, and children who were famishing in Richmond, were fed by the merciful conqueror.
The last days of
It is fired by the se-
SURRENDER OF PENSACOLA.
In connection with the capture of the navy yard at Norfolk may be mentioned the disgraceful surrender of that at Pensacola, in Florida, by the officers having charge of it, and the honorable defense of Fort Pickens.
Surrender of the
Florida, purchased from Spain by the money of the Union, had seceded on January 12th, and immediately made a demand for the yard. Of the works guarding it the most important was Fort Pickens, a stone casemated structure on Santa Rosa Island. On the shore opposite to it there was a smaller work, Fort M'Rea; and a third, Fort Barrancas, about a couple of miles distant. At the
CHAP. XXXVIII.] DEFENSE OF FORT PICKENS.
Defense of Fort
time when the American flag was hauled down at the navy yard, and the stores, guns, and munitions turned over to the insurgents, Fort Barrancas was abandoned. But this scene of military disgrace was not consummated. The little Fort M'Rea was in charge of a young officer, Lieutenant Slemmer. He collected together what force he could, and, obtaining some marines from the steamer Wyandotte, in all about eighty men, he spiked the guns of M'Rea, and threw himself into Fort Pickens, holding that important work, which was one of the keys of the Gulf of Mexico, until the middle of April, when it was effectually garrisoned and provisioned by the government.
SOCIAL CONDITION OF THE SOUTH AT THE OPENING OF THE
The South secured her sea-coast line by seizing the national fortresses; her northern line by asserting the rights of neutrality of the Border States. On the West she blockaded the Mississippi.
Shut up thus within herself, she established throughout her territory an iron despotism.
Their condition became that of a state
Comparison of the political value of Richmond, the metropolis of the Confederacy, with that of Washington.
There were four classes in her population.
War preparations in
THOUGH assurances were perpetually given by the lead. ers of secession that their design would sucthe Confederacy. ceed without difficulty, and perhaps without a resort to war, they made every preparation to obtain military security for their new Confederacy. They commenced by seizing all the fortresses and dépôts estab lished in their limits by the United States for the defense of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Some of these had been very costly; several were very powerful works-a cordon along the shore, judged to be amply sufficient to give security to that part of the republic in case of European war, but capable of being appropriated without difficulty by the people it was intended to defend, since it was vir tually ungarrisoned.
The sea and Gulf fronts of the new Confederacy thus protected, it was supposed that the land
The coast front and
the north front thus front, looking northward toward the Free
States, might be made secure by resorting to the apparently peaceable measure of playing off the