From the Rutland [VT] Herald, 4/10/1865
From the Ninth Vermont
Entry Into Richmond
April 4th, 1865
“Richmond has fallen.” At 3 o’clock A.M., April 3rd, deserters brought the report that the Richmond front of the rebel works was being evacuated. The “On to Richmond” was ordered, and at daylight the picket line of the 2nd brigade, 3rd division, 24th corps advanced and took possession of the enemy’s picket line. A few prisoners were captured and the forts reconnoitered; an intelligent “Johnny” was selected as a guide, and distinctly informed that he was not expected to lead the troops on to torpedoes or other infernal machines. Advancing to the line of abattis, the skirmishers were halted, and the numerous red cloth badges that marked the localities of torpedoes, pointed out, when, carefully filing through a narrow opening in the outer works, the line re-formed in rear of Forts Gilmer and Henry. Advancing rapidly towards the city, we soon arrived near the inner defences. The detail of the 9th Vermont Vols., consisting of three officers and one hundred enlisted men were sent forward as skirmishers, the remainder of the picket line being formed in support. After proceeding a short distance in this order, it was ascertained that the camps and forts were all deserted, and the task before us was simply to go forward and take possession of the abandoned Capitol.
At this time a brigade of colored troops from the 18th Army Corps came up, and rushed forward to be the first in Richmond, but the practiced “double quick” of the veterans of the old 18th Army Corps was in too fast time for the enthusiasm of the darkies, and they had to fall behind.
Near the city Maj. Gen. Weitzel and staff rode to the front, and amidst the shouts and cheers of a liberated people, the stars and stripes passed proudly through the streets of the treason stained capital of Secessis.
The first troops in the city were the picket line of the 2nd brigade, 3rd division, 24th Army Corps. The 9th Vermont Volunteers is the infantry regiment whose representatives first entered the Capital of Rebeldom.
The city was on fire in many places, the flames spread rapidly, and the lower portion of the city was soon a surging mass of fire. Most of the government buildings, with a large amount of private property was destroyed.
The capture of ordnance and quartermaster stores is unprecedented, the number of prisoners is also large. The entrance to the city was more like an ovation to returned heroes than the surrender of a conquered capital. The streets were lined with the inhabitants, both white and black, and the cheers and songs of gladness from the side walks drowned the shouts of joy from the victorious soldiers in the streets.
J. C. B. [Joel C. Baker, 1st LT, 9th Vermont Infantry]