From the New York Herald, 4/12/1865

Mr. William H. Merriam's Despatches.

RICHMOND, April 9, 1865.


Richmond is still enveloped in excitement, and I cannot perceive as yet any abatement. It leaves the truth somewhat in the rear to say that almost everybody eminent has visited and is now viewing the precincts of this captured city. The provost marshals of the North must grow lean with labor in supplying passes to the regiments, brigades, divisions, corps and columns of people who are knocking at these gates for admission. The President of the United States came and saw, and, it may be added, conquered; Senators and legislators of less degree followed in rapid succession; and in all the throng yesterday I noticed the Vice President, accompanied by Senator Sumner, riding along Clay street in an ambulance; but I shall not stop to notice or name the long array of eminent men and lovely women who have flocked to this city since Monday last.


Today Richmond has witnessed a glory which she could now ill afford to spare the remembrance of. A division of tried and faithful troops from the Twenty-fourth army corps of the Army of the James, who have been patiently waiting for the opportunity to walk these streets unmolested, have marched them with all the accomplishments of military display. Accompanying the command, I had a fair opportunity of witnessing this triumph of our arms, and a more impressive and striking military pageant has seldom occurred. The streets were lined literally with gaping rebels ready to take the oath, and a more motley set of habitants it would be, indeed difficult to _____. I can scarcely tell you how penitent these really impenitent Richmondites appeared as the division passed through the city. They gazed at the glittering uniforms of the officers and then at their own rags. They turned their eyes to behold the glistening bayonets that had aided to assert the supremacy of the constitution with a success wholly destitute of any vanity on our part, and wondered why they had ever been rebels, without apparently desiring to surrender their opinions though their bodies were ours. The review was full of purport and an evidence of the march of events.


This morning a deputation, consisting of Henry W. Thomas, former State Senator from the Fairfax district, and more recently Second State Auditor; David J. Burr, member of the House of Delegates from this city; General Joseph B. Anderson, proprietor of the Tredegar Works; and Nathaniel Tyler, past proprietor of the Richmond Enquirer, leave for Lynchburg for the purpose of inviting the Virginia Legislature back to Richmond. This movement is conducted under the immediate auspices of Judge Campbell, R.M.T. Hunter, and others of a class of Southern men who are just now unable to determine whether they are on foot or horseback, so far as the Confederacy may be concerned. Several members of the Virginia Legislature who remained here after the evacuation are working zealously in behalf of the return of Virginia to the Union, and - the statement will startle you, as coming from living men - upon the condition of the abolition of slavery. A mummy of three thousand years standing in Egyptian catacombs, approaching with a proposition about slavery, in this crisis of Southern fate, ought to be embalmed by Dr. Hill in order to modernize him and let him know what is going on. The members who favor this undertaking, it is proper to state, are among the influential of this body and State.


The city assessor of Richmond estimates the losses by the conflagration resulting from Ewell's order to burn the tobacco at two-thirds of the aggregate value of the whole city. The area embraces by the fire comprised the great business portion of the town; while the amount of good stored in the burned buildings enhances to the extent of fifty per cent the losses sustained by the destruction of houses. Thirty millions of dollars will hardly cover the losses in every way and from every view.


The First National Bank of Richmond is to go into operation in the course of ten days.

The Hon. John Van Buren was a guest of General Weitzel in the late halls of Jeff. yesterday.


It has been ascertained that only eight hundred hogsheads of the French tobacco were destroyed by the late conflagration. From this it will be seen that the duties of the French consul in this city are measurably tightened.

GENERAL PATRICK is coming to establish his headquarters in Richmond. The army headquarters will soon be moved here.

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