advice, I issued a circular to the "merchants and owners of cotton and tobacco," embodying the substance of your order and the law that accompanied it. This I intrusted to those gentlemen and to Major Isaac H. Carrington, provost-marshal, for distribution. Being informed a few hours later that it was misunderstood as to take effect at once, I substituted another, stating expressly that "the necessity had not yet arisen." Together with Mr. Scott, a tobacco owner and councilman, I visited and inspected all the warehouses containing tobacco, and after consulting the keepers we concluded they could be burned without danger of a general conflagration. I gave instructions to Major Carrington to make the necessary arrangements, and requested Mr. Scott and the other members of the council to consult with him and give him their views. The Ordnance Department offered to furnish barrels of turpentine to mix with the tobacco, so as to insure its burning, but this I declined for fear of setting fire to the city. I sent for the mayor and several of the most prominent citizens, earnestly urged upon them to endeavor to organize a volunteer guard force for such an emergency, proffering the necessary arms. I regret to say but one man volunteered, and the rioters, as predicted, were unchecked.
On the night of Saturday, April 1, I received a dispatch from General Longstreet telling me he was going to the south side with two divisions, that Kershaw would be left on the lines, directing me to move whatever troops I could collect down the Darbytown road, and to ride by his headquarters for further instructions. I left my staff to see to the movement and collection of troops [of which only the cadets and three battalions of convalescents from the hospitals were in town] and rode down, but General Longstreet had gone before I reached his headquarters, and I received orders from his assistant adjutant-general, Colonel Latrobe, to relieve and send forward two brigades left on picket, which was done soon after sunrise by Colonel Shipp, commanding the cadets and convalescents.
At 10 a.m. of Sunday I received a message from Major Chestney, my assistant adjutant-general, to return at once to the city, and on doing so received the order for the evacuation, and to destroy the stores which could not be removed. All that time allowed was done.
General G. W. C. Lee's division, being mostly composed of heavy artillery, was almost without transportation, which was procured by impressing all that could be found.
All the guard forces were required to take the prisoners from the Libby and Castle Thunder, and as the militia had dispersed, being mostly foreigners, no troops remained in town, except a few convalescents. A mob of both sexes and all colors soon collected, and about 3 a.m. set fire to some buildings on Cary street, and began to plunder the city. The convalescents, then stationed in the square, were ordered to repress the riot, but their commander shortly reported himself unable to do so, his force being inadequate. I then ordered all my staff and couriers who could be spared to scour the streets, so as to intimidate the mob by a show of force, and sent word to General Kershaw, who was coming up from the lines, to hurry his leading regiment into town. By daylight the riot was subdued, but many buildings which I had carefully directed should be spared had been fired by the mob. The arsenal was thus destroyed, and a party of men went to burn the Tredegar Works, but were deterred by General Anderson arming his operatives and declaring his intention to resist. The small bridge over the canal