“Where are the vaunts, and the proud boasts with which you went forth?”

--Walt Whitman, Specimen days, 1882


Victory! Victory!! Victory!!! We celebrate the fall of Richmond April 3d, 1865. [1865]
Elizabeth Cocke Coles Fund (Broadside 1865 .V53)

The place of publication and exact purpose of this small handbill are unknown. However, it vividly conveys Union sympathizers’ outpouring of joy and relief that accompanied the fall of Richmond.

Daily dispatch. Richmond, Va., 3 April 1865.
Gift of Woodley C. Blackwell, Jr. (Newspaper Virginia Richmond)

This issue has the distinction of being the last Confederate newspaper published in Richmond before its occupation by Union troops. Little of its content would indicate the Confederacy’s imminent collapse: the front page lead article reviews a speech given by Lord Palmerston; on page 3 a slave named Agnes is advertised for sale at auction on April 7; and a notice instructs those with claims against the government for the hire or loss of slaves to submit them for forwarding to the “Slave-Claim Bureau” in Augusta, Ga., where business will resume on May 1, 1865.

Photograph of the Tredegar Iron Works, Richmond, Va., 1865.
Elizabeth Cocke Coles Fund (MSS 10849-a)

The Tredegar Iron Works, located on the banks of the James River in Richmond, played a significant role in the selection of Richmond as the Confederacy’s capital. The facility was the third largest iron manufacturer in the United States and the largest of its kind in the South. Most of the iron and artillery produced in the Confederacy came from Tredegar. This photograph shows part of the works in 1865.

“Receiving the President,” from Joseph T. Wilson, The Black Phalanx: a history of the Negro soldiers of the United States in the wars of 1775-1812, 1861-'65. Hartford: American Publishing Co., 1888.
(E185.63 .W8 1888)

On April 4, 1865, two days after the Confederates evacuated Richmond, Abraham Lincoln arrived in the city. Former slaves hailed the president, crowding around him and greeting him with enthusiasm and jubilation.

Henry Chapin, Letter to his father, 26 April 1865.
(MSS 10310-g)

Chapin, a Union soldier, describes the aftermath of the evacuation fire ignited in Richmond by the retreating Confederate Army, and Robert E. Lee's return to Richmond. He also quotes a young white girl’s response to the arrival of U.S. Colored Troops as they helped restore order in the former Confederate capital: “[T]he Yanks are pretty good looking fellows but what hurt the most was to see the Colored troops … [we] were surprised to see them so well drilled, and clothed and equipped.”

William H. Gamble, County map of Virginia and West Virginia. [Philadelphia: S. A. Mitchell, 1865]
(G3881 .F7 1863 .M5 1865)

This map shows the state of West Virginia but not in the familiar outline we recognize today. Jefferson and Berkeley Counties—whose status remained in dispute until 1871—are still shown as part of Virginia, and Grant County has yet to be formed.