Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/336

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330 Southern Historical Society Papers.

'" Is it as bad as that ? " I replied.

" Yes, and much worse ; another week and you will get nothing.'*

As I happened to have about three thousand dollars in Confederate paper, I drew it forth and requested him to get me what silver it would bring.

The next morning he handed me thirty dollars, telling me at the same time to feel thankful for that much."

At the house of a friend with whom I was staying I asked the question, "How do you think the war will terminate?" The host simply took me to his bed-room, and raising the coverlet, showed me several barrels of flour, sacks of coffee, sugar and other groceries snugly stowed away. This, he said, I would find to be the case in nearly every household in the city. In every store I entered there seemed to be the greatest scarcity of goods, and a disinclination to sell-. Of fire-arms and ammunition there were none, though I was assured that nearly every private dwelling was a small arsenal. In a few bar- rooms scattered about vigilant eyes ever kept watch, and upon the first sound of alarm the owners themselves were ready to pour the fiery liquid into the gutters. The fabulous prices paid for everything were no fiction. The cry of Richard III., <4 My kingdom for a horse," was a reality as regards the Confederate paper money, which was frequently offered in sums of thousands of dollars for a barrel of flour or a few pounds of bacon. After the surrender it was to be seen strewed along the streets, and served to adorn many a negro's cabin.


It was known about this time to the people of Richmond that the negro troops in the Union army had requested General Grant to give them the honor of being the first to enter the fallen capi- tal. This fact gave rise to a fear that they would unite with the worst class of resident negroes and burn and sack the city. When, therefore, the black smoke and lurid flames arose on that eventful 3d of April, caused by the Confederates themselves, the terror- stricken inhabitants at first thought their fears were to be realized, but were soon relieved when they saw the manful fight made by many of the negroes and Union troops to suppress the flames. At no time did they fear their own servants ; indeed, I was afterward assured that the many negroes who filled the streets and welcomed the Union troops would have resisted any attack upon the house- holds of their old masters.