From the Boston Post, 4/17/1865, p. 4, c. 1
LETTERS FROM “PRESCOTT.”
MATTERS AT RICHMOND.
Salutes for Lee’s Surrender.
THE LOSS BY THE FIRE.
ADDRESS TO VIRGINIANS.
MOUNT OF ARTILLERY CAPTURED.
DETAILS OF GEN. LEE’S SURRENDER.
The Interviews Between Grant and Lee.
Magnanimity of Grant.
Gratitude of Lee.
LEE’S EARNEST WISH FOR PEACE.
Position of the Army – Its Joy over the Victories.
ARRIVALS OF PRISONERS.
Incidents of a Trip from City Point.
GEN. GRANT IN WASHINGTON.
[SPECIAL CORRESPONDENCE OF THE BOSTON POST.]
RICHMOND, VA., APRIL 11.
REJOICING OVER LEE’S SURRENDER.
As I was closing my last letter from Richmond on Sunday evening, the batteries on the heights overlooking the city were uttering from their brazen throats peal after peal of rejoicing for the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, by Gen. Lee. Next morning another salute of one hundred guns was fired in Capitol Square, in the presence of a vast multitude of citizens and soleirs, while the gunboats in the river echoed the thunderous music, and the bands of the various brigades prolonged the jubilee. The citizens of Richmond appeared to regard the event as the last fatal blow to the Confederate cause, removing all doubt of the triumph of the Union arms, and heralding the speedy return of the Old Dominion to the family of Federal States. Even those who declared most vehemently that they would never vote for a return to the Union, expressed the opinion that the event could not long be delayed. The poorer classes seemed pervaded with a general joy at the prospect of relief from the hardships imposed by the war, and expressed in decided language their gratification on account of the overthrow of the rebel authority. As I left Capitol Square and passed on of our commissary depots, I observed a group of poor women, standing with their baskets waiting for their daily bounty from the United States Government, and overheard one of them addressing her companions as follows: “Our big men didn’t care no more for we poor people than if we were dogs. When a widow went to them to beg something for her children, they would hardly notice her, and would sometimes almost kick her out of the room. Now, see how kind the Yankee officers are. As soon as they got into the city they began to feed the poor folks.” I have heard many instances of the noble-hearted conduct of our soldiers, in sharing their rations with the half-famished people, and contributing money for their support.
Since the citizens have gained sufficient confidence to come out of their dwellings and mingle with the soldiers and civilians from the North, they have manifested an eager desire to hear from their Nothern friends and relatives, from whom they have been almost totally shut out from communication for nearly four years. Many declare their intention to visit the North as soon as the restrictions upon travel are removed; and there can be no doubt that when the unnatural strife is ended, the old fraternal spirit will be speedily restored by the revival of the intercourse between the two sections.
THE FIRST TROOPS IN THE CITY.
A correspondence has arisen as to what particular body of troops first entered Richmond on the morning after its evacuation. The honor was first claimed for the 36th U. S. Colored infantry, raised in North Carolina, Lieut. Col. B. F. Pratt commanding. That claim is now disputed by 2d Lieut. James Flanagan, of the 4th Massachusetts Cavalry, who, in a note to the editior of the Richmond Whig, asserts that Companies H and E, of that regiment, under command of Major A. H. Stevens, Jr., were the first troops to enter the city, and that their guidons were the first to wave over the rebel Capital. However the dispute about fact of the earliest entrance may be settled, there appears to be no doubt that the Mayor surrendered the city to Major Stevens, three miles distant.
THE LOSSES BY THE FIRE.
The Richmond Whig publishes a list of the sufferers by the fire on the night of the evacuation, embracing the names of two hundred and twenty-two owners of private property destroyed, with the amount lost by each – the total amounting to two millions one hundred and forty-six thousand two hundred and forty dollars. These figures are, however, far short of the actual loss upon private property, for they are based upon the assessed valuation of 1860, when real estate was depreciated much below its present value. The public property destroyed, no doubt, amounts to several millions more.
THE ARMORY AND THE HOSPITALS.
Of upwards of two hundred and fifty armorers employed in the rebel armory at Richmond, all but six refused to follow the machinery when it was removed to Danville. In the event, therefore, of a disposition on the part of the Confederates to continue the war, their armory cannot be set up again, and the task given to the Israelites, to make bricks without straw, will be paralleled by that of the Confederates, in attempting to manufacture muskets without laborers. The military authorities have promised employment to the armorers who remained in Richmond. The hospitals in Richmond were left intact by the enemy, with a large number of Confederate sick and wounded soldiers lying in them. There are, however, sufficient accommodations in four of the principal hospitals for twenty-four thousand additional beds, and of those the Federal authorities have availed themselves. Several Confederate surgeons remaining in the city have bene paroled to attend to the invalids of Lee’s army, who receive the same attention as our own.
ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE.
An address to the people of Virginia has been issued, under the approval of Major General Weitzel, calling for a meeting of the General Assembly in Richmond, to consider the restoration of peace, and the adjustment of questions involving life, liberty and property, that have arisen in the State as a consequence of the war. The address is signed by a large number of the members of the rebel Legislature and several prominent citizens of the State. The military authorities of the United States have granted consent for the session, and have given assurance of full protection for its liberations, which are appointed to begin on the 25th inst. It is not probable that anything more than advisory action will be taken by this body, as the Government of the United States recognizes the Government of which Governor Pierrepont is the head.
General Weitzel has issued a general order, extending protection to all churches and places of public worship, and declaring that religious services may continue without interruption, as in times of profound peace. If this protection is perverted to the utterance of treasonable sentiments or expressions, he says it will be withdrawn. In all churches where prayers have heretofore been offered for the so-called President of the Confederate States, he orders a similar mark of respect to be paid to the President of the United States.
The Mayor of Richmond has been permitted to resume his functions, so far as relates to the commitment of persons to the almshouse, which is supplied by the Federal Government. The Mayor appears to enjoy the full confidence and esteem of the people of the city. In conjuction with the United States authorities, a committee of thirty citizens has been organized for the relief of the poor of the city, to whom persons needing aid will now be required to apply. Mr. William P. Munford, a citizen widely known for his benevolence, who has been acting as chairman of a similar committee during the war, is also at the head of the new committee.
About three hundred and fifty pieces of artillery were captured in the enemy’s works around Richmond. Many of them were spiked, but otherwise the armament of the fortifications is uninjured. The Tredegar works for casting shot and shell were saved from destruction. They were several times set on fire by the rebel incendiaries, but the flames were as often extinguished by the workmen.
CRIMES IN THE CITY.
Since the evacuation many acts of robbery and assault have bene committed by desperadoes prowling about the city and suburbs. On Monday night last a gang of ruffians went to the house of a Mr. Dunn, near Belle Isle Landing, and after robbing him of his money and valuables, stabbed his wife to the heart with a bowie knife. Several nights since, near Camp Lee, a woman was hung by the neck until life was extinct, in order to force her to reveal the hiding place where her money was deposited. Several crimes of a less aggravated nature have been committed. It is believed that these acts of diabolism are the work of the convicts who escaped from the penitentiary on the night of the evacuation.