Much Depended on These Generals
ANOTHER CITY HAD BEEN EVACUATED, and again silence soon enveloped members of the exiled government as their train crept out of Virginia into North Carolina. Most of them probably reflected on the Confederacy's future without Robert E. Lee and his army. Jefferson Davis may have pondered the irony that he must now place his hopes in the hands of his old enemy, Joseph E. Johnston. Davis and his colleagues probably wished for a faster, less public trip. The slow train carried with it the news of Appomattox, which adversely affected citizen morale along the route. The hours passed uneventfully until, a few miles outside Greensboro, the train passed over a trestle only minutes before the bridge was destroyed by Federal cavalry. Finally, in midafternoon of Tuesday, 11 April, the cars screeched to a halt at the Greensboro depot. 1
As in Danville, unionist sentiment in this central North Carolina town had been strong before the outbreak of civil war. In February 1861 the citizens of Guilford County had voted overwhelmingly against secession. After North Carolina joined the Southern exodus from the Union in May, however, "unionist Greensboro [had] turned secessionist with great enthusiasm."2
By 1864 this ardor for the Confederate cause had turned
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Publication information: Book title: A Long Shadow:Jefferson Davis and the Final Days of the Confederacy. Contributors: Michael B. Ballard - Author. Publisher: University Press of Mississippi. Place of publication: Jackson, MS. Publication year: 1986. Page number: 74.
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