A Long Shadow: Jefferson Davis and the Final Days of the Confederacy

By Michael B. Ballard | Go to book overview

TWO

The Scream and Rumble of the Cars

CONFEDERATE ADMIRAL RAPHAEL SEMMES remembered the first April Sunday of 1865 as a bright, sunny day. Nature had begun "to put on her spring attire," birds glided above Richmond earth "green with early grass," and plowed fields awaited the planting of corn. Richmond resident Mary Johnston recalled "fruit trees in bloom, white butterflies above the dandelions, the air all sheen and fragrance." Sallie Ann Brock noted "a soft haze rested over the city," but above, the sun glistened brightly in a cloudless sky. It seemed impossible that sounds of war could disturb such a day, when only "the subdued murmur" of the James River and "the cheerful music of the church bells" interrupted the quiet of the morning. This Sunday began predictably enough. At the War Department and post office, early risers hoped to hear news from the Petersburg front. Others set out to visit relatives or perhaps to see the sick and convalescents, who ventured outside to enjoy the weather. Pleasant Sundays often meant full churches, and today would be no exception. As the hour of morning worship approached, the streets became crowded with churchgoers. 1

The congregations appeared as relaxed and easy as the weather. Rumors of impending disaster to Robert E. Lee's army and the possible evacuation of Richmond faded into the

-34-

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A Long Shadow: Jefferson Davis and the Final Days of the Confederacy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • One - The Old Story of the Sick Lion 3
  • Two - The Scream and Rumble of the Cars 34
  • Three - We'll Fight It Out to the Mississippi River 52
  • Four - Much Depended on These Generals 74
  • Five - Unseated but not Unthroned 93
  • Six - Walking in a Dream 117
  • Seven - Old Enmities Were Forgotten 149
  • Bibliography 178
  • Index 195
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