From the New York Times, 4/8/1865
Visit of President Lincoln to Richmond – His Interview with Prominent Citizens – Immense Enthusiasm of the Colored Population – The City Perfectly Tranquil – Navigation on the James Again Resumed.
From Our Own Correspondent.
HEADQUARTERS, ARMY OF THE JAMES.
The most interesting fact to be recorded to-day is the visit of the President to Richmond.
Mr. LINCOLN, accompanied by his young son and Admiral PORTER, arrived at the Rocketts at 2 P. M., in the Malvern, and proceeded at once to the mansion of Ex-President DAVIS, now the headquarters of Maj.–Gen. WEITZEL.
The arrival of the President soon got noised abroad, and the colored population turned out in great force, and for a time blockaded the quarters of the president, cheering vociferously.
It was to be expected, that a population that three days since were in slavery, should evince a strong desire to look upon the man whose edict had struck forever the manacles from their limbs. A considerable number of the white population cheered the President heartily, and but for the order of the Provost-Marshal, issued yesterday, ordering them to remain within their homes quietly for a few days, without doubt there would have been a large addition to the numbers present. After a short interval the President held a levee – Gen. DEVINS [Devens – MDG] introducing all the officers present. The president shook hands with each, and received the hearty congratulations of all.
The Presidential party attended by Gens. WEITZEL, DEVINS, SHEPLEY, and a brilliant staff of officers, then made a tour round the city – drove rapidly round the capitol – stopping for a few moments to admire CRAWFORD’S magnificent statue of WASHINGTON, in the grounds of the capitol, and returned to Gen. WEITZEL’S headquarters at 5:30.
The President and party left Richmond at 6:30 P. M.
Admiral FARRAGUT arrived here this morning on a flying visit, and returned to City Point this evening down the “James.”
It is very satisfactory to be able to state that the torpedoes have been removed, and that six of our gunboats are at the present time lying off the “Rocketts.”
The destruction of property by the fire, yesterday, is enormous, and must amount to tens of millions of dollars. The dense columns of smoke, and the intense heat, rendered it impossible to form and adequate idea of the extent of the property destroyed yesterday. The entire business portion of the city is a heap of smouldering ruins, and nothing by the absence of wind saved the entire city from destruction. There is but one feeling of unmitigated disgust expressed by the residents at this barbarous outrage.
It is positively asserted that Gen. BRECKINRIDGE gave the order that the tobacco and the government workshops should be set fire to, and the close proximity of other valuable property rendered its escape from destruction almost impossible.
The greater portion of the tobacco destroyed is said to have belonged to France and England.
A regular mail communication between this and City Point will be established to-morrow, under the superintendence of Lieut. PARKER, who has been stationed at City Point for some time in the same capacity. Lieut. PARKER has taken possession of the old post-office here, which is well adapted for the purpose.
The following officers attached to the Army of the Potomac were the first to arrive in Richmond, yesterday, belonging to that army.
Lieut. THOS. P. FULLER, Schenectady, N. Y., A. Q. M., City Point.
Capt. P. F. TALBOT, C. S. Depot, Field Hospital, A. P.
Capt. J. P. WOODWARD, Gen. CUTLER’S Headquarters, A. P.
Lieut. G. F. DUDLEY, Headquarters Engineer Brigade, City Point.
The publication of the Whig newspaper is resumed, under the management of one of its proprietors, who has always been opposed to secession. I inclose the first copy issued of the reformed journal, which states the circumstances under which its publication is permitted to be resumed.
It is asserted that two or three of the most prominent citizens sought and obtained an interview with Mr. LINCOLN during his short stay here. I have been requested not to mention their names.
Many startling rumors are afloat respecting the rebel army, but they cannot be traced to a reliable source. It is reported that JEFF. DAVIS and Gen. R. E. LEE were both captured this morning, but as the President had received no confirmation of the fact of its being so, it is scarcely probable that it is true. It is believed that Gen. LEE’S army is divided – one part on either side of the Appomattox, and that Gen. GRANT will be able to prevent their again uniting.
It is gratifying to state that the city is perfectly tranquil, and that the general behavior of our troops is all that could be desired, and has elicited the admiration of the citizens generally.
R. D. FRANCIS.
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