New York Times, 4/10/1865, p. 1
Thanks to God, the Giver of Victory.
Honors to Gen. Grant and His Gallant Army.
A NATIONAL SALUTE ORDERED.
Two Hundred Guns to be Fired at the Headquarters of Every Army, Department, Post and Arsenal.
WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, D.C.
April 9, 1865—9:30 P.M.
Thanks be to Almighty God for the great victory with which he has this day crowned you and the gallant armies under your command.
The thanks of this Department and of the Government, and of the People of the United States—their reverence and honor have been deserved—will be rendered to you and the brave and gallant officers and soldiers of your army for all time.
EDWIN M STANTON, Secretary of War.
WAR DEPARTMENT. WASHINGTON. D.C.,
April 9, 1866—10 o'clock P.M.
Ordered: That a salute of two hundred guns be fired at the headquarters of every army and department, and at every post and arsenal in the United States, and at the Military Academy at West Point on the day of the receipt of this order, in commemoration of the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia to Lieut.-Gen. Grant and the army under his command. Report of the receipt and execution of this order be made to the Adjutant-General at Washington.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
Perils and Excitements of a Voyage Up the James—Scenes and Incidents Along the River.
From Our Own Correspondent.
Richmond, Va., Wednesday. April 5.
The inspiration of the scene and the scope of the theme before us are far beyond the feeble descriptive powers of the pen of your correspondent. No brilliant rhetoric, no vivid word-painting, no oratorical eloquence can portray the sublimity and immensity of the great victory. It is almost beyond the power of the human mind to comprehend its extent, and when you begin to descend to detail, the task is simply appalling in its magnitude. Think of a line of operations, held defensively and operated from offensively with such success, 'thirty-nine miles long from flank to flank, thoroughly fortified throughout its entire length! Think of the cities captured, of the fortifications stormed and taken, with their hundreds of guns, great and small, of the material of war now in our hands, yet beyond the possibility of computation of the terrible battles, and the overwhelming defeat, and rout of the chief army of the rebellion of the prisoners captured. Counted by the tens of thousands; of the terrified flight of the arch-traitor and the his few desperate minions; of the triumphant entry of ABRAHAM LINCOLN into treason's fallen capital. Let every lover of his country depict the vast scene in his own imagination for words to fitly describe it fails altogether.
Through the courtesy of Provost-Marshal Gen. Patrick, I enjoyed and exceedingly pleasant said from City Point to the Richmond wharves this morning, on his fleet flag ship, the Mattine. Accompanying the General were Hon. C.H. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War, his wife and son, and Hon. Roscoe Conkling, member of Congress from New-York. The snake-like bends of the James between City Point and Varina Landing, were quickly passed, and at the latter place assurance was given that the river was clear for our vessel to the very docks of Richmond; thickly sown with obstructions and supposed torpedoes, was an exceedingly delicate task, and full of excitement. Our pilot knew the channel of old, but he knew not the warlike devices of the enemy.
We were, however. Very fortunate, and the approach to the city, especially during the last eight miles from Drewry's Bluff, was full of the intensest interest, for over these waters the Union flag had never before floated during the war. When we leave Dutch Gap and that famous canal, which looks as though it might have been washed out by a billow, we at once enter upon the lines held by the enemy. Howlett House Battery, famous for its determined resistance to our engineering operations on the north side of the river, stands abandoned and gloomy, with its twelve large guns still in the embrasures, but all silent as we steamed rapidly by. Another long and large earthwork appears on the left bank, mounting eight or ten guns, and bearing directly upon the mouth of the canal. This, too, like the rest, is abandoned, with its armament unimpaired. We next pass the wreck of the rebel gunboat, blown up by our batteries during the effort made to run through our fleet some months ago.
The next point of interest is Fort Brady, on the north bank of the river, and the left of the position of our Army of the James. What strikes one as very remarkable here is the fact that owing to the intricate windings of the James there are two rebel batteries, Howlett House and another, absolutely in the rear of this former position of our army. Fort Brady is the point where Gen. Gibbon opened on the retreating rebel rams. Had there been larger guns at his disposal, the range is so good that they would have stood a poor chance of escape.
We are now fairly in that part of the river held solely by the rebels, and a knowledge of the channel and obstructions is absolutely necessary to a safe voyage. The gunboat Monticello is therefore halloed, and on asking for information, a pilot who has been up and down is tendered with much politeness. The obstructions sunk by our own fleet are soon passed, likewise the fleet of monitors, and the next object which greets the vision is a gaily dressed tug, with a guard of marines, having in tow Admiral Porter's barge with the President, on his return from Richmond, complacently seated in the stern sheets. It looks very much like a pic-nic. Following a short distance after is the President's handsome flag-ship, the River Queen. Not far behind is the beautiful steel gunboat [Bat], ex-blockade runner, now general convoy to distinguished guests, guests, and one of the fastest vessels in the navy. The River Queen, which took the President up the river, proceeded no farther than the obstructions at Drewry's Bluff. We are soon abreast of this historic fortification, and eager eyes scan closely its formidable walls and positions.
Here is the chief line of obstructions sunk by the rebels early in the war, and located as they are, directly under the guns of Fort Darling, subjecting every approaching thing to a terrible plunging fire, it is readily admitted that this was the impassable barrier to the naval advance on Richmond. The river here is very narrow, and the movement of large vessels attended with much danger. The obstructions were placed directly across the river, and filled it completely with the exception of a gap of fifty or sixty feet left for the passage of the rebel fleet and flag-of-truce boats. They consist of the hulls of two or three old steamships, that formerly plyed between Richmond and New York. The wheel-houses, foul crumbling to decay, still rise above the water, and present the appearance of a melancholy ruin.
We pass so hurriedly under the guns of Fort Darling, that we have no good opportunity to observe its construction. We know it looks very strong, and on the north side it has one or two small outlying works on its flank. Our naval companions tell us that it is a casemated fortification, and with its surrounding field works, all parts of the fort itself, mounts not less than forty guns. All these, like hundreds more, are our trophies without blemish or injury.
Not far above Fort Darling lies the wreck of one of the famous rebel fleet in the James, the iron-clad Virginia. Whether she has been blown up or simply scuttled and sunk, cannot be ascertained from looking at her as she lies. She sank in deep water, and is careened over on her side, leaving a portion of her overhang visible above the water-line. Of the other iron-clad, the Richmond, we find no trace.
In the immediate vicinity of Fort Darling we pass through a very substantial bridge with a draw, used by Lee for the speedy transfer of troops from the north to the south side of the James. Ere reaching Richmond we pass two more of the same kind, though hardly so well built as the first; but all demonstrating that Lee had no pontoon bridges across the James anywhere—probably, because the rapid current rendered them unsafe, and probably, too, because he had not any pontoons to spare, when something else would answer just as well.
We have now steamed safely by all obstructions and chances of torpedoes, and the very pardonable trepidation which we felt in view of our possible danger, gives way to a feeling that just now is a moment in our lives, the significance, importance and sublimity of which cannot be justly appreciated. The City of Richmond is in view. The spires pointing heavenward; the smoke still rising from the conflagration's awful ruin, and the Stars and Stripes floating from a hundred house-tops and mastheads, all form a picture so sublimely grand and inspiring, that the human mind is simply lost in mute contemplation.
In a few moments we land at the Rockets, and a brisk walk of a mile and a half brings us to the Spotswood House, where we find dinner and a very comfortable room amid hundreds of loyal guests.
L L CROUNSE
Union Sentiment in Richmond—Projects of Reconstruction—Distinguished Visitors—Recruiting Negro Troops—The Truth about Rebel Enlistment of Negroes.
From Our Own Correspondent.
Richmond, Friday, April 7, 1865.
...In addition to this, there is another element, not so thoroughly Union, but ready to stop and talk about the best terms of reconstruction. When the President was here on Tuesday a committee waited on him, headed by Judge CAMPBELL, of Alabama, and late Assistant Secretary of War, also late Peace Commissioner, and asked him what were the best terms he could offer to Virginia—what plan of action must people adopt to secure reconstruction on the most favorable terms? The President wrote on a slip of paper, without address or signature: That the Emancipation Proclamation must stand; that in all other matter the people would be treated with liberality; that passports might possible be granted to the Governor, members of the Legislature, or any other public men to come to Richmond and decide the destiny of Virginia.
This little document was the basis of a private conference held this afternoon at the office of the Whig, at which were assembled Judge CAMPBELL, Gen. J.R. ANDERSON of the Tredegar Iron Works, and the following members of the State and city governments: Senators MARSHALL of Faquier, GARRISON of Accomac, and Messrs. ENGLISH, HALL, BURR, and SCOT, of the House of delegates; JOSEPH MAYO, Mayor of the city, WILLIAM THOMAS, city auditor, and Messrs WALKER, BURR, SAUNDERS and SCOTT, of the city council. There were also several prominent Union citizens present. Mr. ANDERSON was called to the chair, and Judge CAMPBELL stated what he had obtained from the President. The meeting was intended to be private, and I have not been able to learn fully what transpired, but I believe it is proposed to send four Commissioners to Gen. LEE with the terms proposed by Mr. LINCOLN, and see if he can be induced to cease hostilities which the Legislature is convened to deliberate and decide the fate of the State, and that the village of Charlottesville be made neutral ground, there to convene the Legislature and deliberate.
This project contains several impracticable features, and does not express the views of the thoroughly loyal people here, who declare that "BILLY" SMITH, the present Governor, is a far worse rebel than JEFF. DAVIS himself, and that he must be repudiated, and the Legislature with him, for both were elected, not by the people, but by a terrible despotism under which no freedom of choice could be exercised. But even such signs are vastly encouraging, though the completeness of our great victory should never be marred by any compromise, when there is an absolute majority of Union men here in the city of Richmond to day.
There will be further developments of deep interest in a few days, which I trust I may have the pleasure of chronicling.
The city is thronged with distinguished visitors. Yesterday two steamers arrived with Mrs. LINCOLN, Mrs. GRANT, Senator SUMNER, Senator HARLAN, and other well-known people. To-day there arrived Vice-President JOHNSON, PRESTON KING and others. The city is really crowded. All the sutlers and traders City Point have rushed up here, and trade will soon be lively....
L. L. CROUNSE.
Important Debate of the Rebel State Legislature of Virginia—Great Capture of ??? of War—Quartermasters' Work—Libby and Castle Thunder.
Richmond, Va. Friday, April 7.
...Mrs. President LINCOLN, accompanied by Senator SUMNER, paid a visit to the Libby, yesterday, and took great interest in examining the rebel records, which have most fortunately been found there. Vice-President JOHNSON also visited the prison to-day. Capt. M. T. BITTON, Thirteenth New-Hampshire, is Commandant, and Capt. W. APPLEBY, Eighty-first New York, is stationed there as assistant....