"I saw them unfurl a tiny flag and I sank
on my knees and the bitter, bitter tears came in a torrent:,so wrote mrs. Mary Fontaine of
Richmond as Federal Cavalry dashed into the city in the morning. The first flag, a
small guidon was raised by Major Atherton Stevens Jr. of Massachusetts over the State
House., Capitol of the Confederacy. As the people, many of them jubilant Negroes.
swarmed into the streets, much of the city still in flames, more Federal soldiers arrived.
The Cavalry thundered at a furious gallop and the Infantry came
playing "The girl I left behind me" and the Negro troops playing
"Dixie". An eyewitness wrote that the former slaves in Richmond were
"completely crazed" they danced and shouted, hugging and kissing. Looting
"Oh it was too awful to remember, if it could be
erased but that cannot be." "This town is the Rebellion, it is all we
have directly striven for". Now this was suddenly changed. major General
Godfrey Weitzel, with troops from the Army of the James, commanded the occupation.
At eight-fifteen in the City Hall, he received the surrender. Union troops
immediately set about to restore order and subdue the fires. By midafternoon
progress had been made as Richmond slowly quieted down.
The train from Richmond to Danville moved slowly the night
of April 2-3 due to roadbed difficulties. But by midafternoon the cars bearing
President Davis, most of the Cabinet and many records arrived in Danville VA, where
citizens had hurriedly prepared to receive their guests. Headquarters for the
President were established in the home of Maj. W.T. Sutherlin. Davis declared that
he was not abandoning the cause.
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