The Richmond Enquirer, April 16, 1861
Effect of the News at Richmond.
So soon as the news of the surrender of Fort Sumter reached Richmond a procession of citizens was formed, which marched up Main street, headed by Smith's Armory Band, and bearing the flag of the Southern Confederacy.
The procession had swelled to about three thousand persons, by the time the column halted at the Tredegar Iron Works, to witness the raising of a large Southern Confederacy flag over the main building of the works, which was done by the employees of the establishment. Without delay, the flag was hauled up, the band playing the Marsellaise, and cannon (manufactured at the Tredegar for the use of the Confederate Government) thundered a welcome to the banner of the South.
Joseph R. Anderson, Esq., then delivered a short address, and introduced to the audience Judge John Robertson, who made an earnest and telling speech. Spirited addresses were also delivered by Messrs. Roscoe B. Heath, L.S. Hall, of Wetzel, and Attorney General J. Randolph Tucker.
When Mr. Tucker informed the workmen that the breach in the walls of Fort Sumter had been effected by columbiads cast at the Tredegar Works, shout after shout arose from the crowd, until the applause seemed deafening.
After the ceremonies at the Tredegar Works were concluded, the procession was again formed, and the crowd proceeded to the Cary street arsenal, where, without waiting to ask the consent of Governor Letcher, they took possession of the guns of the Fayette Artillery, dragged them to the Southern front of the Capitol, and there proceeded to fire a salute of one hundred guns.
This occupied more than an hour, during which time different portions of the crowd were entertaining themselves with other impromptu manifestations.
A large body headed by a band of music and a wagon dressed with banners, and surrounded by a cavalcade, marched to the Governor's Mansion. The band played Dixie, and loud calls were made for 'Letcher.'
Governor Letcher soon appeared on the porch, and spoke a few words--substantially as follows:
Gentlemen.--I thank you very kindly for this compliment. But I must be permitted to say that I see no occasion for this demonstration. I have done all that my duty requires. I can only assure you, that come what may, i will be true to my duty to Virginia, without regard to the consequences that may affect me personally.
The Governor then retired, and so did the crowd, evidently disgusted with their equivocal reception.
The flags were next carried to the Southern portico of the Capitol, where they were displayed amid enthusiastic applause. A voice then proposed, and a thousand voices instantly re-echoed the proposal, that the Southern flag should be raised on the roof of the Capitol. An instant rush was made for the stairway, and soon the seven stars and three stripes floated proudly at the head of the large flag staff over the Hall of the House of Delegates. The applause fairly rent the sky.
A call was next made for speakers, and thousands clustered around the Eastern porch. Speech after speech was listened to with unflagging interest, and perfect order was preserved, interrupted only by shouts of applause which were exchanged for three deep groans whenever the Virginia State Convention was referred to.
Among the speakers were Messrs. Ambler, of Louisa; Sheffey, of Smyth; George L. Gordon, of Louisa; John M. Patton and B.R. Wellford.
Finally John M. Patton, Esq, offered the following resolution, which was adopted with entire unanimity and enthusiastic applause:
Resolved, That we rejoice with high, exultant, heartfelt joy at the triumph of the Southern Confederacy over the accursed government at Washington in the capture of Fort Sumter.
By this time the night had set in, and the crowd dispersed from the capitol grounds, only to re-appear on the streets in long and orderly torchlight processions, each accompanied by a band of music, and all the Southern rights flags borne in front.
Many of the houses were brilliantly illuminated from attic to cellar; flags of the Southern Confederacy were abundantly displayed from roofs and windows; the streets blazed with bonfires; the sky lighted with showers of pyrotechnics; and, until midnight, crowd after crowd found speakers to address them from balconies and street corners.
In a word, from noon till midnight, the city was alive with a triumphal acclaim, and-to the honor of our citizens be it said-not a single scene of violence or rowdyism was exhibited. Large groups of ladies promenaded the streets to witness the processions and displays of fireworks, until a late hour; and throughout all there was not a single scene which the most modest woman might not witness with gratification.
After ten o'clock at night, a detachment of the State Guard was quietly introduced into the Capitol, and (it is said, by Gov. Letcher's order,) the flag of the Southern Confederacy was removed from the roof of the Capitol. This was known at the time, however, only to a few discreet citizens, who quietly took efficient care to prevent any disagreeable result.