The Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley


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Located in south central Virginia, not far from the North Carolina border, Danville was the western terminus of the Richmond and Danville Railroad and a major Confederate supply base. Jefferson Davis and his government traveled to Danville as Richmond fell to the Federal army. The city was the seat of the Confederate government for only eight days, April 3-10, 1865.



Last Captiol of the CSA-The Sutherlin Mansion

Danville- Last Capitol of the Confederacy

Danville's quartermaster, Major William T. Sutherlin, offered his home to Davis and the Confederate government. Davis occupied an upstairs bedroom, and the Confederate cabinet met in the Sutherlin dining room. Davis delivered his final proclamation to the Confederate nation from the home on April 4.

Davis believed that Danville was only a temporary location for the government. He believed that the Confederacy had "entered upon a new phase of the struggle" in which the fight would not be tied to the defense of cities, but taken to the mountains in guerrilla warfare.

But Lee's decimated army could not hold out. The cabinet was sitting at dinner when word of Lee's surrender at Appomattox reached Danville. The Confederate government would have to move immediately. They had originally intended to move to Lynchburg, but with no army operating in Virginia, the government would have to move south, toward Joseph Johnston's army. Davis still had hope the Confederacy could survive the recent series of disasters. He left Danville, Virginia for Greensboro, North Carolina, in the rain.

Virtual Tour of Danville during the Civil War

 

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