The Illustrated London News

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The Illustrated London News, vol. 45, no. 1268, p. 71.

July 16, 1864

RICHMOND.--The city of Richmond, by the last census, had a population of 38,000 souls, but the great influx of civil and military officers and refugees from other parts of the State has probably raised it to a much higher figure. It is situated at the head of tide-water, at the lower falls of James River, about 150 miles from its mouth. The city occupies a most picturesque situation, being built on Richmond and Shockhoe hills, which are separated by Shockhoe Creek and surrounded by beautiful scenery. It is regularly laid out and well built, the streets, which are lighted with gas, crossing each other at right angles. On Shockhoe-hill are the State Capitol and other public buildings. The Capitol is an imposing edifice, and contains, in its central hall, Houden's celebrated statue of Washington. On the east of the square is the Governor's mansion. Jefferson Davis's residence is a private mansion, which was purchased for him by the Confederate Government. The city has many fine public buildings, six banks, thirteen newspapers, and twenty-three churches. In one of the three Presbyterian churches Jefferson Davis worships. The falls of James River afford immense water-power, and there are very extensive factories, including four cotton and about fifty tobacco factories, flour mills, rolling mills, forges, furnaces, machine shops, &c., the latter of which, and particularly the Tredegar Ironworks, have been of immense service to the rebels in turning out ordnance and material of war. The annual exports of Richmond before the rebellion reached nearly 7,000,000 dols. and its imports 750,000 dols. But since it had the honour of being the rebel capital its foreign commerce has been extinguished. Vessels or gun-boats drawing ten feet can ascend to within a mile of the city, at a place called the Rockets. Vessels of fifteen feet draught ascend to Warwick, three miles below. A canal has been built around the falls, and above them there is navigation for 200 miles. The James River and Kanawha Canal, intended to extend to Covington, is completed for 200 miles. Richmond has very extensive railroad communications, being the terminus of five roads, running to Fredericksburg and the Potomac, to West Point and the York River, Petersburg and Norfolk, to Danville, Virginia, to Jackson's River, by the Central Railroad, and from these the connections lead all through the Southern States. Opposite the city are the two towns of Spring Hill and Manchester. Richmond was founded in 1742, became the capital of the State of Virginia in 1779, and in June, 1861, it was made the seat of Government of the "Confederate States of America," whose Congress assembled there on July 20. Its history since then is only too familiar to the country. Around the city are various hills, extending a great distance, on the most important of which fortifications were erected in the days of the "On to Richmond" cry.--New York Tribune.

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