Leaving Richmond: An Express Agent's Account.
12pp, 7-1/2 x 9-1/2 in., datelined "Danville May 15th-65" from J.P. Hawkins, an employee of the Southern Express Co., acting as courier, to his mother. He writes (in part): "I arrived in Richmond the memorable Sunday of the Evacuation about 10 PM. Just getting back from Charlotte where I had been with a large sum of C.S. Govt. Coin. Found every thing in an awful excited condition burning valuable paper and money at all the different Departments...destroying all that they supposed would be of any service to U.S. Govt...I had resolved to go home by way of Lynchburg but in returing to Express Office was asked by Col. Bulwell if I would not take charge of the horses and two large wagons...left Richmd Sunday night 12-oc precisely having five (5) iron safes and a large lot of the books belonging to the office besides supplies for man & beast."
etc. Hawkins then describes his journey to North Carolina, mentioning the news of Lee's surrender - amid descriptions of fording rivers, wagons stuck in mud, stragglers catching mules and riding them bareback, and endless reports of the enemy's proximity. He then reaches Greensboro, where he stays 14 days, "amidst the greatest scene of confusion & excitement I ever beheld. Johnsons army arrived there a few days after I did and lay around during the 10 days truce, or armistice between Sherman & himself. The last of the CS Gvt was also there a part of the time - including 'Jeff Davis', Benjamin, Breckenridge, Trenholm & cc nearly all the big men (`Jeff Davis' and I suppose the balance have since been captured in Georgia.) The CS Gvt had vast amounts of stores there - 114 Hhds Sugar alone Bacon by the thousand Corn and enough army grey cloth alone to furnish a suit for every man in the armies South nearly everything was carried off by the mob - consisting principally of these NC Woman (who beat everything I ever saw in the shape of Females) and cavalry, Citizens & Negroes besides that they cleaned out 24 trains loaded with stuff from Raleigh,"
etc.; sheets with some toning and small separations at folds, only the last being in three pieces, Fine, a unique and exciting account of the very last days of the war in the East. Accompanying this is a letter from Col. R.B. Bullock with Southern Express imprint authorizing Hawkins to take charge "of the wagon & teams"
, also a letter from Bullock with directions, and a post-war CDV of Hawkins (Lee Gallery, Richmond impt.)
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