Richmond fell on April 3, 1865.
The Union army took possession of the Confederate capitol while it yet burned, having been set ablaze by retreating rebels. Thick, strangling smoke from the direction of Tredegar Ironworks choked President Lincoln’s victory party as they entered the city.
Tad Lincoln must have positively twitched with anticipation on the morning of April 4, 1865, coincidentally his 12th birthday. Safe aboard the USS Malvern during the last gasps and death throes of the Confederacy, Taddie was invited to accompany his father on a victory tour of Richmond. For a boy enamored with his father and playing soldier, it would have seemed a present beyond belief.
Today, Brown’s Island and Tredegar mark the scenic route of the Richmond Marathon. City planners have done a beautiful job melding the old with the new, paying homage to the suffering of the past while celebrating the hope and beauty of the present. Downtown Richmond, intersected by the James River, is an intriguing array of restaurants, shops, and museums.
The Penny Lane Pub serves good beer, authentic British food, and a fair bit of nostalgia for lovers of those lads from Liverpool.
Visitors to Brown’s Island will want to see the Three Days in Richmond exhibit. Constructed over the busting James, the boardwalk steps visitors through those fateful last days and offers a view of dynamited rail line remains.
Richmond had been captured but danger remained when Father Abraham decided to see the Confederate capitol, young Taddie in tow. General Robert E. Lee would not surrender for another five days, on April 9, 1865. Yet, President Lincoln was adamant to press forward in spite of the danger and reportedly exclaimed, “Thank God that I have lived to see this!” “It seems to me that I have been dreaming a horrid dream for four years, and now the nightmare is gone. I want to see Richmond.”
10 short days later, President Abraham Lincoln’s life tragically ended. An assassin’s bullet cut his life short in Washington, D.C., the nation’s capitol.
~Tina Morris, blogger -photographer