James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

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  in disaster to the Confederates. “He has carried everything before him” is Grant’s account of this action. The General-in-Chief received the intelligence of the victory of Five Forks at nine in the evening and immediately ordered an assault on the enemy’s line, which was made at an early hour next day; his army won a decisive victory. 1 On the night of April 2, Lee evacuated Richmond and Petersburg, with the intention of concentrating his troops at Amelia Court-House, and making his way to Danville whence he would effect a junction with Johnston’s army. After him, next morning, followed the Union forces in eager pursuit.  15   As late as April 1, Davis apparently thought that there was no immediate necessity for the abandonment of Richmond. On the morning of Sunday the 2d he was at St. Paul’s listening to the noble liturgy of the Episcopal Church; the clergyman was reading for the last time in his ministry the prayer for the President of the Confederate States. Here Davis was apprised by a messenger from the War Department of the gravity of the military situation. He left his pew quietly and walked out of the church with dignity to receive Lee’s telegram which gave an account of his disaster and advised that Richmond be abandoned. The news spread rapidly, and so unexpectedly had it come upon the city that the greatest confusion and excitement prevailed as functionaries and citizens made ready for flight. Davis with all the members of his cabinet (except the Secretary of War), a number of his staff and other officials, got away at eleven o’clock in the evening on a train of the Richmond and Danville railroad and reached Danville next afternoon in safety. Under Lee’s previous order, Ewell, who was in command of the troops in Richmond, directed that the tobacco in the city should be burned and
Note 1. O. R., XLVI, Pt. 1, 53, 54, Pt. 3, 394. [back]