Looking back, July 4, 1863, marked several major turning points in American Civil War history. Vicksburg, Mississippi – the last Confederate stronghold along the Mississippi River – surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. At Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the three-day battle had ended and both armies watched each other, tended the wounded, buried the dead, and, when darkness fell, the Confederate army began its retreat back to Virginia.
It took time for news of these historic happenings to reach the Confederate capital in Richmond, Virginia. Rumors filtered to the city, but it would be hours later before the news of the defeats was publicly known.
However, a very unique, patriotic celebration took place within Richmond, hidden away behind barred windows and thick walls. Here’s what happened: Continue reading