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Richmond, Virginia, in April 1865 showing the burned district along the James River. From photographs of the main Eastern theater of war and fallen Richmond compiled by Hirst Milhollen and Donald Mugridge. View full size.
As the sun rose on Richmond, such a spectacle was presented as can never be forgotten by those who witnessed it. All the horrors of the final conflagration, when the earth shall be wrapped in flames and "melt with fervent heat," were, it seemed to us, prefigured in our capital. The roaring, crackling and hissing of the flames, the bursting of shells at the Confederate Arsenal, the sounds of the Instruments of martial music, the neighing of the horses, the shoutings of the multitudes, gave an idea of all the horrors of Pandemonium. Above all this scene of terror hung a black shroud of smoke through which the sun shone with a lurid angry glare like an immense ball of blood that emitted sullen rays of light, as if loath to shine over a scene so appalling. Then a cry was raised: "The Yankees! The Yankees are coming!" — Richmond resident Sallie Putnam
Upon evacuation of the city, the Confederate government authorized the burning of warehouses and supplies, which resulted in the destruction of factories and houses in the business district. Before the charred ruins of Richmond had cooled, General Robert E. Lee, with the remnant of his army, surrendered to Ulysses Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. [From Embattled Capital, on the National Park Service's Richmond National Battlefield web page.]