'Our beautiful and advantageously situated city'
April 22, 2005 9:57 AM   Subscribe

Civil War Richmond: an online research project designed to collect documents, photographs, and maps pertaining to Richmond, Virginia, during the Civil War.
posted by breezeway (8 comments total)
Ah, Richmond. Lived there nearly a decade.

Wonderful collection of second place trophies on Monument Ave.
posted by hackly_fracture at 10:17 AM on April 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

We all know that John Wilkes Booth killed Lincoln, and that he had a longstanding grudge against the president and the union. But it's interesting to note that the event (little celebrated in Civil War histories) that pushed Booth over the edge into his final, rash, murderous act, was Lincoln's visit to the fallen Richmond. Lincoln was warned that to make such a visit would be interpreted as gloating by some southerners. Indeed, while it is well known that Lincoln greeted the freed slaves of the city, it is less well known that he entered the Confederate capitol building and sat in Jefferson Davis's chair and may have even grinned. All of this came across as strutting, sneering triumphalism to Booth, and sealed his intention of killing Lincoln. There are many indications that if Lincoln had stayed away from Richmond after its fall, if he'd resisted the temptation to stroll through the capitol of his defeated enemy, things might have gone differently.
posted by Faze at 10:29 AM on April 22, 2005

Faze, Booth spent at least five months planning to kidnap Lincoln and made a thwarted attempt on March 17, 1865, weeks before the fall of Richmond. That is hardly rash.

Also I think you have it wrong. On April 11th Lincoln gave a speech in which he discussed possible new rights for blacks. He suggested conferring voting rights "on the very intelligent, and on those who serve our cause as soldiers." Booth was in the audience and he flipped out and said, "Now, by God! I'll put him through. That is the last speech he will ever make." (see here, and here and oddly enough here and here.

So it wasn't gloating that got him killed, but perhaps enfranchising (some) african americans.
posted by Cassford at 1:04 PM on April 22, 2005

Anyone live in Richmond? I have 2 friends that moved in the past year and they are trying to get me down there. Looking for some other opinions.
posted by a3matrix at 7:51 PM on April 22, 2005

I lived outside of Richmond for about eight years. The city of Richmond itself is great. If you lean slightly to the left, are not quite straight, or one standard deviation outside of the personality Bell curve, I wouldn't leave the city limits.
posted by kscottz at 7:57 PM on April 22, 2005

True story: Back when I was in college, I brought a girlfriend home for the weekend and we did the usual sightseeing. We were in the Museum of the Confederacy, adjacent to the White House of the Confederacy, and Jen whispered to me, "I didn't know JEB Stuart was white." The museum was already quiet, but became much moreso. I thought for sure we'd get shot.

I've lived here most of my life, and now I'm in the city not far from the one statue on Monument Ave. that's not a second-place trophy. Richmond's all right by me... we even have our own corner of Craig's List now, too.

But I don't think there has ever been a Richmond meetup yet...
posted by emelenjr at 1:02 AM on April 23, 2005

I live in Richmond. It is a city of neighborhoods surrounded by suburbs that could be anywhere. I've lived in larger and smaller places and keep coming back here.

It is a great city if you are interested in old houses and don't mind a little crime.

One of the maps from that site shows the street that my house is on, from 1864. As we haven't been able to figure out when our house was built, this is kind of neat.
posted by john m at 5:44 AM on April 23, 2005

I guess this is moving more MeTa.

Lived there for two years, now live closer to Williamsburg. Richmond's a better place than most people (at least around here, I guess elsewhere) give it credit for. It doesn't necessarily know what it is. Charlotte is the financial center of the Mid-Atlantic. DC is the political center of the Mid-Atlantic. Williamsburg and Jamestown are the collective historical center of the Mid-Atlantic. Richmond's a little bit of each, but not enough of any of them to be defined as "the ___________ city." Once it figures that out, it'll be able to develop its identity, independent of the role it played as the capital of the Confederacy. For now, that seems to be its overarching identifier.
posted by Alt F4 at 12:50 PM on April 24, 2005

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