On this day in History: The Fall of Richmond


On April 3, 1865 Union forces captured Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederate States of America. Confederates evacuated the city, setting fire to warehouses on their exit.

President Lincoln would visit with his son the following day.

Within a week, General Robert E. Lee would surrender to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox.

bridgetonowhereRichmond remains a town rich in history, the good and the bad. My lunchtime walks take me down along the canal near the American Civil War Center where a statue commemorates Lincoln’s visit, and out on the partial bridge that hopefully one day will be a walking bridge across the river. The bridge bears quotes from those who saw the city falling.

This isn’t about rehashing the reasons for the war. This is about history. History that should be remembered.

I love the South. I love being a Virginian. That my region and my state were wrong in the cause of slavery does not change that. We learn from our past, the good and the bad.

And it’s not a time for sanctimonious northerners to talk about how racism only existed, or exists in the south. If you believe the cause of the North was some grand sense of human justice you are simply historically ignorant.

Or, as we say in the south “Bless your heart.”

There are those who would erase the memories of the Civil War, but that’s the wrong approach. We need to remember so that we can make sure it never happens again.


    • Camilla Herold on April 3, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Mike, I have to admit the song by Joan Baez always brings tears to my eyes. I am a descendant of one of Robert E. Lee’s brothers, and I am proud of the connection with one of American history’s most beloved, but most tragic figures. Lee was wrong to support slavery, but he did what his commander in chief told him to do. I would not want to make him into a martyr, but in truth, some, no many, had to die to end slavery. There are martyrs on both sides, and we can learn from all of them.
    I have not read your blog before today, but I will now. I will be happy to.
    Take care,

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