From The Constitution, Wednesday, April 12, 1865 (volume 28, number 1424)
Lee telegraphed on Sunday that Grant had driven him a mile and a half, that he had suffered severely, held an untenable position, and requested that the city should be evacuated that night. The flight of the rebel leaders began at once—Jeff. Davis is said to have heard the news while in church. He had previously sold his furniture, and was ready to go at once. Leaving Mrs. Lee behind, he started for Charlotte, N. C. Other accounts say that he started with his family the previous Wednesday—the day Grant began his march—but subsequently returned to his capital. Gen. Weitzel now occupies his house, and Gen. Devins resides in the house Gov. Smith of Virginia. Our men approached the city very cautiously on Monday morning over ground, thick with torpedoes—so thick that our main body marched in single file, while pioneers pointed out the dangerous places.—No opposition was made to our approach; a small squadron of cavalry rode in, and Mayor Mayo handed over the keys at 7 A. M. Monday morning. Gen. Weitzel soon followed, and was greeted with enthusiastic cheers by citizens both white and black. The rebels set fire to many important buildings, in order to burn the tobacco on storage, and most of Main street is destroyed; but our men soon extinguished the fire. The State House, the Enquirer and Dispatch newspaper offices, and two or three bridges were burned. All the rebel magazines and gunboats were blown up. There were no Union prisoner found, all having been sent off for exchange the day before. Commissioner Ould handed to Gen. Mulford all the papers in his possession on the subject. The departure of the rebel army after Sheridan’s victory at Five Forks must have been very sudden, since they left all their tents behind. Our captures in Richmond amount to about one thousand rebel soldiers in health, and five thousand wounded, mainly in the hospitals, with 5,000 stands of small arms, and five hundred pieces of artillery. President Lincoln visited Richmond on Tuesday.
Official and general dispatches from Grant’s army and from Richmond continues to bring us good news. Our troops got possession of Burkesville, the place of junction of the Richmond and Danville, and Petersburgh and Lynchburgh Railroad, on Wednesday afternoon. Sheridan himself states that reinforcements were coming to him, and he feels confident of capturing Lee’s army. Grant was at last advices only a few miles east of Burkesville, and Sheridan was operating north of Grant. No junction between Lee and Johnson is possible, and the retreat of the rebel army of Virginia must be toward Lynchburg and the mountains.
Sheridan reports at 11 ¼ P. M. of Thursday, “The army made a stand at the intersection of the Burkes Station road with the road upon which they were retreating. I attacked them with divisions of the Sixth Army Corps and routed them handsomely, making a connection with the cavalry. I am still pressing on with both cavalry and infantry. Up to the present time we have captured Gens. Ewell, Kershaw, Burton, Corse, De Barre, Curtis, Lee, several thousand prisoners, fourteen pieces of artillery, with caissons and a large number of wagons. If the thing is pressed, I think Lee will surrender. As for the “pressing” we may safely leave Grant and Sheridan alone for that. Further dispatches from Gens. Meade, Humphreys and Wright give details of operations on Thursday, all of which were in every way favorable to our arms.—Meade says: “It is evident that to-day’s work is going to be one of the most important of the recent brilliant operations.” Humphreys says: “Our last fight, just before dark, at Sailor’s Creek, gave us two guns, three flags, considerable numbers of prisoners, 200 wagons, 70 ambulances, with mules and horses to about one half the wagons and ambulances.” Wright says: “The result has been a complete success.” And so the good work goes on.
There was great excitement on Friday by a report that Lee’s army had surrendered, but the joy was premature; it was Fitz Hugh Lee, and not the General in-chief, who had succumbed; at least such was the ultimate story—from Philadelphia. But there was enough of genuine news to keep up the joyful fever of patriotism which has marked every day and hour since Grant began his last glorious campaign. Our dispatches make it very clear if not already at the point of surrender, Lee will very soon be brought to that alternative; the unremitting blows of Sheridan’s avenging sword are too powerful to be endured; the rebels have not time to form an effective line of battle before our troops are upon them, and another disorderly rout is the result.
General Grant writes to General R. E. Lee, dated at Appomattox Court House, April 9th, 1865, in which he says: “In accordance with the substance of my letters to you of the 8th inst., I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia on the following terms, to wit: Rolls of all the officers and men are to be made in duplicate, one copy to be given to an officer designated by me, the other to be retained by such officers as you may designate. The officers to give their individual paroles not to take arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged, and each company or regimental commander sign a like parole for the men of their commands. The arms, artillery and public property to be packed and stacked and turned over to the officers appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage. This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they reside.”
General Lee replies: “I have received your letter of this date, containing the terms of surrender of the army of Northern Virginia, as proposed by you. As they are substantially the same as those express in your letter of the 8th inst., they are accepted. I will proceed to designate the proper officers, to carry the stipulations into effect.”
Richmond is taken and the rebel army completely routed—two things which the peace croakers have declared could not be done. They now turn their attention to the national debt, prophecying that it can never be paid. They might as well save their breath, if they wish to live to a good old age; for they will be as much mistaken in the last as in the first prediction. Every dollar of the government indebtedness will be paid. The people will remember the traitors who caused it.
The copperhead chairman of the town meeting in Milford on election day ordered the arrest of a man for hurrahing over the capture of Richmond. No constable was found willing to undertake the job, and cheers were given by the Union men to their hearts’ content.
The news of the surrender of Lee’s army was received in this city early Monday morning, and caused great rejoicing. The fire bells were rung, steam whistles sounded, flags were displayed, and notwithstanding the rain, the firemen and citizens assembled and with drum and fife paraded the streets. At noon the procession visited Portland. The “little quaker” as usual was at work. At the factory of W. & B. Douglas, the bell which has rung for every union success during the war, was the first to ring out the welcome news. Work was immediately suspended for the day. The flag staff at the south park displayed bunting from top to bottom. At ten o’clock in the evening, the bells were again rung, bonfires burned, fire crackers set off, and for nearly an hour, 4th of July enacted over again.
If the Rip Van Winkle leather head who presides over the Sentinel & Witness, who I understand for some reason has taken up his abode in Cromwell, has not yet discovered that the city does not repair turnpike roads it is time he aroused himself from his sleepy state. Should he again get stuck in the mud on the south side of Sebethe bridge, I advise him to call on some other Hercules to extricate him than the Street Commissioner.
It is done, ‘Twere done quickly, and ‘tis well. A “political idiot” has been joyfully consigned to a political grave. The deed has inspired us all with new confidence in, and more respect for the old Second District. We take new courage. We understand our people now. They have shown us that their hearts are in the right place. They have become thoroughly awakened to their duties as citizens of the great Republic of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, and all our illustrious fathers who solemnly declared that “all men are born free and equal.” We did not expect that things would go otherwise in this District, Mr. Editor. Considering the quality of the candidates on each side, it was a moral impossibility for our good people to vote their majority otherwise than they did. In the election just past so gloriously our people have acted like brave soldiers of right and truth. Like men they have vindicated principle, honor, and patriotism, and have given a death blow to duplicity, dishonor and treason. They have covered themselves with imperishable glory. This staunch old stronghold—‘the Second Congressional District”—shall henceforth and forever stand as the faithful exponent of the free principles of this great Republic.
Mr. Editor, what’s the matter with the little “Witness” man, or rather the ignorant booby who furnishes the twaddle and billingsgate for that dirty sheet? My article published in the Constitution previous to the late election worried the “Witness” editor (?) so much he had to trump up his ablest “knight of the quill,” (whom we suppose was none other than the man known as “Ed,”) and got him to write a long editorial for the Witness in reference to it, headed, “Hon. E. A. Russell.” In this remarkable production Ed says, “Mr. R. has always maintained for the Union and the Constitution !!!” Ed, we all know this to be an untruth, and for two reasons: 1st. Because we know that Russell hasn’t brains to maintain anything, else why did he try to enlist another man’s talent in the advocacy of his famous notion that “capital should own labor.” 2d. Because he has been long known to all as a self-acknowledged Disunionist. This can be proved, Ed, and the less you say about it the better. But what use is it to multiply words! The great statesman has fallen, and we shall hear of him no more forever. Peace be to his ashes, as for his memory it is not worth preserving.
Now, as Ed proceeds in a lengthy editorial, written for the soap-grease man who pretends to edit the “Witness,” he pays his respects to Mr. Warner—says Mr. W. opposed the war at its commencement, and that he “said openly on the street if Mr. Lincoln should insist on making war the people ought to go to Washington and hurl him from his place, &c.” Really, Ed, we are at a loss to know whether you meant this as a joke, or whether you was in earnest. However, after much effort to suppress our laughter sufficiently to enable us to write, we will endeavor to treat it as though we thought you serious. In the first place, if Mr. Warner opposed the war he did no more than every other good and true man ought to have done, and did do. What patriot in the land was not opposed to Sumpter’s being fired upon? Why, Ed, Mr. Warner would have been a monster not to have opposed the commencement of this war. We all opposed it, except those who said that the South was right, and that “they ought and would succeed!” But the cream of the joke comes in where you assert the Mr. Warner was for hurling President Lincoln from his place if he should make war! The idea is utterly preposterous. Such a remark, it is true would have been proper, about Mr. Lincoln or any other of our presidents, but as this war was commenced before Mr. Lincoln’s inauguration, it is not at all obvious that Mr. Warner ever made any such remark in regard to it.
Now, Ed, a parting word in your private ear! Let me advise you to post up a little on the elements of logic before you again write for Greasy’s paper.
April 8th, 1865.
Fast Day occurs on Friday of this week, the 14th. Public services will be held in several of the churches on the morning of that day.