• RICHMOND, VA
  • FUNDED BY THE INSTITUTE OF MUSEUM AND LIBRARY SERVICES
  • 1860-1865

THE RISE AND FALL OF A CAPITAL

On the eve of the Civil War, Richmond, Virginia's capital since 1780, bustled with the commerce, politics, and enterprise of an active southern city. The Dispatch, one of the city's assorted newspapers, reported on local and world events, creating snapshots of daily life. Both the city and newspaper would experience major changes by early 1865, and both would be left in ruins by April of that year. Using the transcriptions of Richmond's non-partisan newspaper and other contextual documents as guides, discover how dramatically the city, and thus the people and fortunes of the south, changed during the course of the war.

Collection:
Daily Dispatch
Civil War Richmond Books
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Daily Dispatch
Civil War Richmond Books
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Collection:
Daily Dispatch
Civil War Richmond Books
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1861
1862
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1864
1865
  • February 4: Confederate Constitutional Convention meets in Montgomery, Alabama; Richmond elects three delegates to Virginia Secession Convention
  • March 4: Abraham Lincoln Inaugurated
  • April 12: President Abraham Lincoln issues proclamation declaring insurrection
  • April 15: Fort Sumter fired upon and surrenders next day
  • April 17: Virginia State Convention in Richmond adopts ordinance of secession
  • April 18: US property seized in Richmond
  • April 19: Richmond holds night parade celebrating secession
  • April 21: Fear of Federal Gunboat Pawnee on James River
  • May 20: Confederate Congress votes to move national capital to Richmond
  • May 29: Jefferson Davis arrives in Richmond
  • February 22: Jefferson Davis inaugurated as Confederate President
  • February 25: President Davis sends message to Confederate Congress
  • March 1: President Davis declares martial law in Richmond
  • March 13: President Davis appoints General Robert E. Lee in charge of military operations of Confederate armies
  • April 16: Confederate Congress initiates conscription
  • May 15: Federal forces fired on by Confederate batteries at Drewry’s Bluff eight miles south of Richmond
  • May 31: Battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks); General Joseph E. Johnston severely wounded and replaced first by General G. W. Smith and then Robert E. Lee on June 1
  • June 12: Confederate General JEB Stuart begins ride around Federal General George B. McClellan’s forces
  • June 15: General Stuart arrives in Richmond
  • June 23: Dabb’s House Conference north of Richmond as General Lee met with Confederate generals including Stonewall Jackson to plan counter offensive
  • June 25: Seven Days’ Campaign begins
  • July 1 Battle of Malvern Hill leads Federal forces to begin retreat to Harrison’s Landing
  • July 13: Part of General Lee’s army begins to move away from Richmond defenses
  • August 18: Second Session of Confederate Congress meets in Richmond
  • October 10: President Davis asks Virginia to draft 4,500 African Americans to work on completion of Richmond fortifications
  • January 12: Third Session of Confederate Congress convenes in Richmond
  • March 13: Explosion at Confederate Ordnance Laboratory in Richmond kills 69, including 62 women
  • April 2: Richmond Bread Riot
  • May 11: General Stonewall Jackson’s remains arrive in Richmond to lie in state
  • May 15: Large fire at Crenshaw Woolen Mills spreads to Tredegar Works
  • May 28: Election Day for Confederate Congress
  • January 4: Richmond reception for General John Hunt Morgan
  • January 25: Fire at Confederate hospital buildings at Camp Winder
  • February 9: 109 Federal Officers tunnel out of Libby Prison. 59 reach Union lines
  • February 23: Buyer’s panic in Richmond leads to large price increases
  • February 28-March 1: Federal General Judson Kilpatrick leads raid on Richmond; Federal Colonel Ulric Dahlgren, after coming within two miles of Richmond, is killed on March 2
  • March 22: Heavy snowfall in city
  • May 2: First Session of Second Congress of CSA convenes in Richmond
  • May 11: Battle of Yellow Tavern, six miles north of Richmond; JEB Stuart killed
  • May 12: Federal General Benjamin Butler’s troops at City Point and Bermuda Hundred threaten Petersburg and Richmond
  • June 1-3: Battle of Cold Harbor
  • June 14: Army of the Potomac begins crossing James River
  • June 15-18: Federal attack on Petersburg fails
  • April 3: Federal troops occupy Richmond
  • April 4: President Lincoln visits Richmond