Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/139

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good Mrs. Knight gave me, little dreaming that I would get nothing more to eat for more than three days.

ORDERS TO BURN.

Reaching my quarters in the city about 2 o'clock A. M. of the 3d, my adjutant, Linden Kent, a youth about eighteen (who afterwards became a distinguished lawyer in Washington city, and died a few years since), showed me an order from General Ewell, directing all the tobacco warehouses, then full of tobacco, to be burned at a cer- tain signal. He and Captain Herron, of Orange, the ranking officer in my absence (Captain W. T. Early, of Albemarle, and Major James Strange, of Fluvanna, then being absent, sick), had made all the arrangements necessary to carry this order into effect. I directed Captain Herron and Adjutant Kent, so soon as the signal was given, to fire these buildings, then pass over the river on Mayo's bridge and follow the army. Being dead tired, I threw myself down to rest, fell asleep, and did not waken until the arsenal exploded. This woke me up most effectually. I threw my blanket over my shoulder, sword and haversack on one side, and canteen, with a little brandy, on the other. I struck out for Mayo's bridge, some one or two miles distant. The streets were quiet and apparently deserted. When I reached Mayo's bridge the small bridge over the 'canal con- necting the basin with the dock was on fire on one side, a burning canal-boat having drifted up against it.

LAST TO CROSS.

As I was passing over the bridge a few cavalry videttes passed me. I shall ever believe we were the last Confederates who crossed the bridge, for that had also been fired and was now in flames on one side. As I climbed the slope beyond the bridge, the rising sun was just beginning to peep over the eastern hills. I turned and looked back; the city of Richmond was in flames. From all the windows of the Gallego Mills tongues of flame were bursting out; dense clouds of smoke, sparks and flames were reaching skyward. Were I a painter, even now, after thirty-two years, I could paint the scene. The sight was awfully grand. I felt the end was nigh. After gazing on this sublime spectacle for a time, I trudged on in pursuit of my command. After proceeding about a mile, I rrjet Mr. Davis, father of Dr. H. Wythe Davis, of your city, and brother-in-law of Colonel Knight, who lived nearly opposite Wilton. He was on horseback,