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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/347

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Our Last Capital 339

the Confederate Museum at Richmond, but, naturally, the family are reluctant to relinquish possession of so valuable a souvenir.

Mr. Davis and the capital of the Confederacy were at the Suth- erlin mansion for a week. On the morning of April the roth, Pres- ident Davis, accompanied by Major Sutherlin, went down-town. While there they were unofficially informed of Lee's surrender on the previous day. At first, although the probability of such an event taking place had been suggested to them by existing circumstances, the news seemed incredible. Several hours subsequently, however, official confirmation of the tidings was afforded them.


Under the conditions then existing, the only possible course of action left for the consideration of the President was for him to im- mediately, without any delay whatsoever, proceed farther South. This course of action, the results of which were uncertain, was at once put into execution. Taking with him only a grip containing some important papers, he, with his cabinet and staff, boarded a train, which had been hastily made up, for Greensboro'. He left, as it happened, none too soon, as a party of Federal soldiers, who had been sent to cut the road, arrived at a trestle a few miles south of the city just after the train carrying the President had passed over.

After the President had gone to the depot, Mr. Memminger, who had been confined to his bed for several days with a severe attack of neuralgia, and from whom the bad news had been carefully kept, accidentally learning of what had happened, got up and dressed at once, and insisted upon going to the depot. There being no other conveyance available, the carriage being at the depot, he and his wife rode there in a farm wagon. The entire party left all of their heavier baggage in Danville, only taking those things that could be carried in grips and valises.

The last capital of the Confederacy had then been vacated by the government, and from thence "the bonny blue flag that bears a single star" ceased to represent a nation. Moreover, from this time the Confederate government was no longer a government, but only the scattered and broken head of a disorganized and demoral- ized resistance to the re-establishment in the Southern States of the authority of the United States government.