From the Richmond Dispatch, 4/22/1861 River attack
From the Richmond Dispatch, 4/22/1861, page. 1
The Excitement Yesterday. - The annals of Richmond present no parallel to the excitement that prevailed yesterday, and no sterner evidence could be furnished of the realities of warfare, except actual bloodshed, than the scenes of the Sabbath through which we have just passed. Early in the morning, armed men were hurrying to and fro, companies assembling at their various rendezvous, and the rolling drums harshly discorded with the chimes of the church bells. Men were drilling in regiments, companies and squads; and many a female face was suffused with tears, while witnessing the preparations for the departure of loved and cherished members of the domestic circle.
After most of the companies had been dismissed at noonday, the tolling of the Capitol bell announced that they were again wanted for immediate duty. A report spread over the city that a steamer, with Federal troops, was coming up the river, to seize the ammunition brought here on the evening previous, from Norfolk. In a very short time, troops were in motion, and cannon were conveyed to the wharves, with the intention, probably, of giving the mercenaries a warm reception. -- Citizens armed themselves with rifles, pistols, shot-guns, and other weapons, and hurried to the same point; but we saw no alarm on any countenance - nothing but a determination to fight, and a hope that the report would turn out to be true. The throng at Rockets swelled to thousands, while on the neighboring hills were assembled a vast multitude of ladies and children, attracted by the exciting rumors, though scarcely believing that anything like an enemy was approaching our city. The Governor rode down and gave such orders as were necessary, and steamers were held in readiness for any service required. Cavalry companies scoured the country below; the Howitzer corps, Company F, and A company from Manchester marched down on the opposite side of the river. The Young Guard and the Virginia Life Guard were drawn up on the wharf. Several militia companies were also in the neighborhood.
That there was good reason to apprehend something of a sanguinary character, we have no doubt. The ammunition barge was towed up in to the Dock, and the powder will be kept in a place of safety until needed. In times like these we must be prepared for any emergency, and every rumor deserves careful and considerate attention.
Posted By: Joe Elia