Images of flames will be projected on downtown buildings to represent the fires that were set as Confederate troops evacuated the city 150 years earlier.
On April 1st through the 4th, Virginia will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the fall of Richmond, which marked the beginning of the end of the Civil War. As you’d expect there will be events throughout the city.
From the office of the Governor:
A series of diverse programs and events being held in and around Capitol Square will commemorate this pivotal period in American history, culminating in a full day of programs on Capitol Square on Saturday, April 4. More information also can be found at www.RichmondsJourney.org and www.OnToRichmond.com and on this video about the event: https://youtu.be/IiAeifNqugs.
- The Burning of Richmond – Thursday, April 2: Images projected onto downtown buildings during an evening illumination will represent the fires that were set as Confederate troops evacuated the city 150 years earlier. Guided lantern tours will lead visitors through the heart of the historic burned district and living history interpreters stationed along the tour route will share the stories of individuals who experienced the fires first-hand. Tours begin at the corner of Bank and Governor streets.
- On To Richmond! Blue Coats Enter a Gray City – Saturday, April 4, Virginia Capitol: A contingent of living history Union military units, led by African-American troops, will march to the Capitol, symbolizing the Union army’s entrance into the city of Richmond. Approaching the Capitol, the units will be joined by community organizations in a celebration of the 150th anniversary of emancipation. A brief commemorative program on the Capitol steps featuring Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the Virginia Union University choir will follow.
- Tours of Capitol Square and surrounding historic area of the city – April 2-4, various locations: Participants will explore sites associated with the Confederate evacuation, the transfer of civic control to Union forces, the enslavement and emancipation of the city’s African-descended population, and President Lincoln’s visit to the city.
- The Virginia HistoryMobile – Saturday, April 4, Bank Street: An interactive museum on wheels housed in a 53-foot expandable tractor-trailer will be parked near Capitol Square. Since the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Manassas in July 2011, the HistoryMobile has visited museums, parks, fairs, schools, and other sites throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond.
- Free parking will be provided in the 14th Street Parking Garage, and state employees who work in Richmond can access their normal garages by using their state identification badge.
Why we celebrate
On Sunday, April 2, 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis received news that his troops no longer could hold their position. The Confederate government and military evacuated the city that night. In an attempt to prevent Union forces from capturing their supplies, Confederate troops set fire to downtown warehouses but the fires rapidly spread out of control. The next morning on April 3, Union army units, including African-American troops, entered the burning city and helped extinguish the fires and restore order. On April 4, 1865, President Lincoln and his son, Tad, arrived in the still-smoldering city and were greeted by a jubilant crowd of those who were formerly enslaved, eager to greet the man they regarded as “The Great Emancipator.”
The event is sponsored by the Future of Richmond’s Past, a collaborative effort of Richmond’s historical societies, museums, national parks, tourism offices, commissions, and cultural organizations.
I hope you can be part of the celebration!
Image: Encyclopedia Richmond