Causes of secession: Virginia

On 17 April 1861, the Virginia Secession Convention approved the wording of the state’s ordinance of secession, which seeks to repeal the US Constitution completely and make Virginia a sovereign state: AN ORDINANCE To Repeal the ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, by the State of Virginia, and to resume all the rights and powers granted under said Constitution: The people of Virginia, in their ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, adopted by them in Convention, on the 25th day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eight-eight, having declared that the powers granted them under the said Constitution were derived from the people of the United States, and might be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to their injury and oppression, and the Federal Government having perverted said powers, not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern slaveholding States.

Lincoln tours the ruins of Virginia

On 4 April 1965, President Abraham Lincoln toured the burned-out ruins of Richmond, Virginia. When numerous freed slaves began kneeling at his feet, he told them “Don’t kneel to me. That is not right. You must kneel to God only, and thank Him for the liberty you will afterward enjoy.” General Weitzel asked for guidance on how to treat city folk who had been loyal to the secessionist cause. Lincoln responded: “If I were in your place, I’d let ’em up easy, let ’em up easy.

The US flag is raised over Virginia

On 3 April 1865, Johnston Livingston de Peyster raised the US flag over Virginia following its capture from Confederate forces. He later wrote to his mother: My dearest mother,— This morning, about four o’clock, I was got up, just one hour after I retired, with the information that at six we were going to Richmond. At six we started. The rebs. had gone at three, along a road strewn with all the munitions of war.

The evacuation of Virginia

On 2nd April 1865, Jefferson Davis and Confederate troops fled Richmond, Virginia and fled south, abandoning what had been the capital of the Confederate states. As they left, troops were ordered to set fire to bridges, the armory, warehouses and other supplies. The New York Times reported: The evacuation of Richmond commenced in earnest Sunday night, closed at daylight on Monday morning with a terrific conflagration, which, was kindled by the Confederate authorities wantonly and recklessly applying the torch to Shockoe warehouse and other buildings in which was stored a large quantity of tobacco.