Panorama of Richmond, Virginia, after the ConflagrationThe Illustrated London News, vol. 47, no. 1339, p. 382.
October 21, 1865
Several Illustrations have been published from time to time in this Journal showing the ruined condition of some of the public buildings in Richmond, Virginia, lately the capital of the Confederate States, as they appeared soon after the evacuation of that city by the fallen Government and its remnant of an army, whose retreat was accompanied by an act of wholesale incendiarism, causing the destruction of a great many offices, factories, shops, and dwelling-houses. It may still be worth while, as a permanent memorial of one of the most terrible instances of the destructive fury of a civil war, to present our readers with the panorama or general view now engraved, which displays the whole extent of Richmond as it was in the first week of April last, when it was entered by the Federal troops, whom President Lincoln followed next day--but a week before his death by the assassin's hand.
The city of Richmond, which was, until the war of secession, one of the pleasantest and most beautiful in the United States, had a population in ordinary times of 40,000 persons, with a fair trade in tobacco, wheat, and flour, sent to New York, Baltimore, or Philadelphia, for exportation abroad. It is situated on several hills, occupying the north bank of the James River, where the Lower Falls mark the limit of inland navigation. The streets of Richmond, built at right angles and named after the letters of the alphabet, were rather neat than picturesque; but, on Shockoe Hill, the West-End or fashionable quarter of the city, were several fine buildings, of which the Capitol, shown in our Illustration, is the most conspicuous, and has fortunately escaped destruction. This edifice, which stands on a square of eight acres, is adorned with a portico of Ionic columns; it contains a fine marble statue of Washington, and other works of art. The official residence of the Government is a large mansion at the corner of the Capitol Square. The Penitentiary, facing the river, in the same part of the city, is seen not far beyond. The gaol, the courthouse, two market-houses, a theatre, an orphan asylum, and the armoury (shown in one of our former Illustrations), with several colleges, and about thirty churches, were the other public buildings of Richmond, not to reckon three or four banks, insurance offices, flour-mills, iron-foundries, and other establishments of industry or commerce. The revival of its trade may be expected, from its great advantages of water-power above the city for manufacturing purposes and the navigable river below. On the opposite side, connected with Richmond by three bridges, are the suburban villages of Manchester and Spring Hill. The town of Petersburg, so stoutly defended by General Lee, is twenty-two miles to the south. It is to be hoped that the peace and prosperity of Richmond will never again be disturbed, for this unfortunate place has surely suffered enough.