Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/138

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134 Southern Historical Society Papers.

[From the Richmond (Va.) Diipa'ch, April 25, 1897.]


Incidents of the City's Evacuation Described.


Experiences of an Officer on the Retreat.


To the Editor of the Dispatch :

During part of the month of February and during March, 1865, the Second Battalion of Virginia Reserves (boys between sixteen and eighteen, and old men between forty- five and fifty, commanded by the undersigned) were stationed in the City of Richmond on guard duty, having been withdrawn from the lines nearly opposite Fort Harrison, about the 15th of February. On the afternoon of Satur- day, the ist of April, 1865, I went down on a small steamer to "Wilton," the home of my friend, Colonel W. C. Knight, and spent Sunday with him and his family. I expected to return to Richmond early Monday morning. During Sunday all was quiet on the north side of James river, but away to the south we could hear sounds that indicated a serious engagement. The Colonel and myself in the afternoon walked down nearly opposite Drewry's Bluff, when a steamer the one I came down on Saturday passed down, loaded, as we thought, with Federal prisoners. As it passed by rapidly, we heard from the boat that Richmond was to be evacuated, and that was the last trip the boat would make. As all was so very quiet in our neighborhood, we did not credit this report. About 10 o'clock P. M. Sunday I retired,, and before I had fallen asleep the Colonel came to my door, knocked, and informed me that the lines on the north side were being evacuated; that all of his horses and wagons had been just then impressed, and were to be used in mov- ing stores, etc. I was then about nine miles from the city, and my quarters were out in the neighborhood of what was formerly known as Buchanan Spring, so there was nothing for me to do but walk about twelve miles. It was then u o'clock at night. I placed in my haversack a small piece of hambone and a loaf of bread, which