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homes. He contemplated no revenge, no harsh measures, but quite the contrary. Their sufferings and hardships during the war would make them submissive to law." (0)
General Grant was not disposed to wait till Sherman should reach Burksville. · Ile desired to compel Lee to meet him in the open field. If he were to wait, the soldiers from the Western States might become unduly elated by a feeling of superior prowess over those from the Eastern States. He determined the Army of the Potomac should have an opportunity of finishing the work it had thus far maintained against the strongest of the Confederate armies. He made the Fifth Corps and the cavalry a movable force to operate on his left, and changed his headquarters to be near the scene of action. “I feel like ending the matter, if possible, before going back,” he said to Sheridan.
The cavalry of General Lee and three brigades of Pickett's division of infantry confronted Sheridan at Dinwiddie Court-house. The bat
tle ended in the retirement of the Confederates to Five Forks,
towards which the Fifth Corps and the cavalry advanced. It was nearly four o'clock in the afternoon when I reached General Sheridan's headquarters. Ayer's division of infantry was advancing
through the woods. The cavalry had dismounted, and were April 1.
fighting as infantry. The movement of the Fifth Corps threatened to separate Pickett from the main body of Lee's army. The Confederate soldiers lost heart at the moment when they needed the most courage. The troops under Sheridan swept over the Confederate intrenchments and captured 6000 prisoners, six cannon, and thirteen battle-flags.
General Grant was at Dabney's Mill, six miles away. He had listened to the cannonade and the volleys of musketry, which suddenly ceased. What its meaning? The battle was over, but which side was victorious ? llorace Porter, of his own staff, brought the news. Grant stepped into his tent and wrote an order to Meade: “ Assault along the whole line!”
Ile sent a second telegram to President Lincoln at City Point: "I have ordered everything to advance, to prevent concentration against Sheridan.”
He telegraphed to Meade: “I believe that with a bombardment beforehand the enemy will abandon his works."
The time had arrived when the whole army was to take part. In the evening at ten o'clock the cannonade began. It was continued through the night, from James River to the extreme left of the Union line. President Lincoln heard the deep reverberations.
He comprehended that the decisive hour was near, and was turning over the profound questions that presented themselves to his mind. On what basis ought the conquered States to be restored to the Union? What clemency ought he to show the men who had led the Southern States into the Rebellion? What should be done with Jefferson Davis? Would it not be well for the country if the leaders were to escape to some foreign land ? Congress would not be in session before December. Such questions as were likely to arise must not be left to the military authorities for settlement. He alone must deal with them.
NOTES TO CHAPTER XXVI.
() Weed's “Memoirs,” vol. ii., (?) Horace Porter, “Century Magazine," October, 1885. (2) Ibid. (*) Ibid. (5) Jay Cooke to Author. () Author's Note-book, 1865. (') Sherman to I. N. Arnold, Arnold's “ Life of Abraham Lincoln,” p. 421.
THE stars were shining from a cloudless sky and day was dawning
when the troops of the Ninth Army Corps rushed upon the Confederate intrenchments east of Petersburg, captured twelve cannon and
800 prisoners. The Sixth and Second corps were in motion. Sunday, President Lincoln knew Grant had determined to make the most April 2, 1865.' of the advantage gained at Five Forks. A little later came the
information that the Second and Sixth corps were engaged. I watched the varied movements, saw the white battle-clouds above the contending forces, beheld the last charge--compact lines rising like an ocean billow over the fortifications—and then the flag of the Union waving in triumph. .
Very gratifying the telegram from Grant to the President:
“The whole captures are not less than twelve thousand, and probably tifty pieces of artillery."
To the Union armies it was a day of victories.
The people of Richmond in the early morning heard the church bells summoning the corps of citizen soldiers to the rendezvous. Many times during the siege had the tocsin sounded—so often that the clanging created no alarm. The corps was organized for guard duty, or to hold some unimportant point, that Lee might have the entire army in an emergency. No information had been received of the battle at Five Forks. During the night Longstreet's corps had been passing through the city to attack Sheridan. Before Lee could execute the plan his whole line was being assailed. Again the church bells -not clanging, but solemnly and sweetly ringing the hour for public worship.
“What news have you ?" asked a lady of an officer, as they walked to Rev. Mr. Iloge's church.
“ All quiet. The croakers are peaceful,” the reply. “Do you think Richmond safe?" 66 Never safer. We had a narrow escape from being starved out a
few weeks ago. It frightened people into crowding provisions into the city. I am assured this morning that we have not been so safe for many months."1')
Secretary Breckinridge was sitting in his office when this startling despatch came to him from General Lee:
“My lines are broken. Richmond must be evacuated to night.”
The worshippers in St. Paul's Church had finished the devotional service and the rector was preaching, when an officer walked up the aisle and handed a slip of paper to Jefferson Davis. The people saw he was much agitated as he hastily left the church. The service closed abruptly.
The news that the city was to be evacuated quickly spread. There was hurrying to and fro, and activity everywhere.
A Southern historian has thus pictured the scene:
“The disorder increased every hour, the streets were thronged. Pale women and little shoeless children struggled in the crowd. Oaths and blasphemous shouts smote the ear. Wagons were being hastily loaded at the departments with boxes and trunks, which were taken to the Danville depot. All the departments were in confusion. There was no system, no answer to inquiries. Important officers were invisible, and every one felt like taking care of himself.”(?)
The mayor of the city was informed by General Ewell that the tobacco warehouses were to be set on fire; it would endanger the entire city, but he must obey orders. The mayor and a deputation of citizens called upon President Davis, and protested against the execution of the order.
“ Your statement,” said Davis, “ that the burning of the warehouses will endanger the city is only a cowardly pretext to save your property from the Yankees.” (*) General Ewell endeavored to impress upon the authorities the necessity of providing protection against the mob after the withdrawal of the troops. A half-dozen members of the council hastily assembled, and decided that the liquor in the city should be destroyed.
The railroad to Danville and the James River Canal were the only avenues by which the Confederate Government could leave. Coaches, wagons, carts, vehicles of every description, were brought into use to convey to the railroad station chests and boxes packed with public documents and the personal baggage of Jefferson Davis and his Cabi
An excited crowd gathered. Women gave way to lamentations, men cursed and blasphemed, as soldiers with fixed bayonets pushed
KEY OF THE RICHMOND SLAVE PRISON.
back all except a favored few. From Lumpkins's prison came a gang of fifty negroes with clanking chains--the last slave coffle of North America.
From the day when cotton became “king,” in the estimation of the propagandists of slavery, Virginia had been purchasing human flesh for southern markets. The Richmond mart with its iron-grated cells was scarcely a stone's throw from the mansion purchased by the Confederate Government for Jefferson Davis. There was no room on the train
for Lumpkins's chattels. What loss ! In 1861 those fifty men and women would have brought $50,000, but on that Sunday evening they were utterly valueless. There was no longer a
slave mart in the United States(In possession of the author.)
no longer a slave. Lumpkins could
only turn his chattels loose amid the surging crowd. The prison, whip, shackles, driver, auction block — relics of barbarism were of the past. The excited multitude saw cars provided for the horses, coach, and coachman of Jefferson Davis. Oaths and curses fell upon the ears of the departing President and Cabinet, when at 8 P.m. the train moved away from the station. Later in the evening the Governor of the State and members of the Legislature took their departure on a canal-boat.()
Day had not dawned when there came a series of thunder-like peals which awakened President Lincoln and the army, caused by the blow
ing up of the war-vessels of the Confederate navy. The soldiers April 3, of the Ninth Corps, with whom I had passed the night, were in
stantly alert. They needed no other reveille. General Wilcox, commanding the division nearest Petersburg, found only deserted fortifications where a few hours before Confederate cannon had flashed defiance. I traversed the trenches, surveyed the almost impregnable works, and passed on with the troops into the city. The army was compelled to wait for the arrival of pontoons and the laying of a bridge across the Appomattox, before it could begin the pursuit of Lee. General Grant made his headquarters at the mansion of Mr. Wallace. I saw him a few moments, and then, comprehending that Richmond was the objective point for a correspondent, hastened to Meade station, on the military railroad.
A train came from City Point bringing President Lincoln. Just before reaching the station it was stopped by a procession of several