Richmond 1863: Christmas & New Years in the Confederacy

When 1863 came to a close, the Civil War still continued. Citizens in Richmond, Virginia – Capital of the Confederacy – reflected on the losses and few victories of the year while bracing for another year of conflict.

Today, I’ve rounded up some primary sources to give a glimpse into the happenings in Richmond that chilly December and these sources reflect the citizen morale of the time.  Continue reading

Richmond 1863: Slave Trade

Since the Civil War eventually led to the abolition of slavery in America through the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, it’s easy to forget that slavery didn’t end during the war. Slave auctions and other atrocities continued.

This dark, tragic side of history is often overlooked, and today we’ll try to take an honest look at the slave trade going on in Richmond, Virginia, during the Civil War. Continue reading

Richmond 1863: Fourth of July

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

Richmond 1863: Jackson’s Funeral

The city of Richmond, Virginia, witnessed military funerals regularly during the American Civil War, but in journals, memoirs, and newspapers the city’s mourning for Confederate General “Stonewall” Jackson emerging as a pivotal event in 1863.

That’s not to say the citizens didn’t mourn other fallen officers. Far from it. The city had a tradition of elaborate funerals and memorial days going to back to days of mourning for the founding fathers. In 1862, there was even a public funeral for former president John Tyler. Continue reading

Richmond 1863: Bread Riots

Richmond. Capital of the Confederacy for the majority of the American Civil War. A town at war with itself, even as the nation fought to redefine the meanings of union, constitution, and freedom.

This month’s blog series will take a closer look at some important events in Richmond’s 1863 saga. As the middle year of the war, 1863 had its share of dramatic moments that filled this Virginia city’s streets with riots, tears, blood, chains, and questions. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the riot which rocked Richmond society and revealed some of the Confederacy’s greatest challenges away from the battlefields. Continue reading