From Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, 4/22/1865, p. 77, c. 1
THE 3d of April will long be remembered by the inhabitants of Richmond, for on that day President Lincoln entered the rebel capital, just vacated by the mock President Jeff Davis and his broken and dispirited army. Our Artist says:
“The President looked pleased, but was evidently not quite recovered from his his recent illness. His reception by the crowd was most enthusiastic; of course none of the prominent rebels were there, the assemblage being composed of about an equal proportion of the contraband race and the white. Richmond presents a most melancholy aspect, as so much of the city has been burnt. The principal business part of it is in ruins. There appears to be considerable difference of opinion by whose order it was fired, one party openly denouncing Breckinridge for giving the order to apply the torch to all the tobacco warehouses as well as the public buildings; while others assert that he tried to avert the calamity. The balance of evidence, however, is against him. After President Lincoln had driven through the principal street, he proceeded to the deserted mansion of the arch-rebel and held a kind of extempore levee, the principal officers being introduced to him by Gen. Weitzel. This interesting ceremony being over, he entered a carriage and was driven through several portions of the city.
“He remarked to some gentlemen present that had he een in stronger health he would have raised the Stars and Stripes over the Capitol with his own hand.”
The correspondent of the New York Tribune thus describes this interesting event: “President Lincoln’s visit, coming so soon after the occupation, was a matter of intense interest to the entire population. Crowds – thousands – rushed out for a glimpse of his tall figure, as he walked into the city, attended by a few friends and an escort of a score or two of soldiers. The enthusiasm was, however, cofined to the negroes, the foreigners, and exceptional Virginia-born citizens. But the joy of the negro knew no bounds. It found expression in whoops, in contortions, in tears, and incessantly in prayerful ejaculations of thanks. The President proceeded to Gen. Weitzel’s headquarters, the late residence of Jeff Davis. I do not imagine he went there for the sake of any petty triumph, but simply because it was the headquarters of the General commanding. Many officers and citizens of Richmond came to pay their respects, after which he rode about the city. He slept on board one of the gunboats, and afterwards to City Point.
“Among the first to seek an interview with the President was Judge Campbell, one of the three Commissioners whom he met at Fortress Monroe. The interview lasted half an hour, and was followed by a second of longer duration the following day. It is known that Judge Campbell concedes the hopelessness of the rebellion, and is only striving for terms. To what extent he is authorized to act for Davis and Lee I do not know, nor is it known what was the President’s response.”