I didn’t know that the Confederate Army lit a match to Richmond on their way out of town on April 3, 1865. Richmond had served as the capitol of the Confederacy throughout the dreadful Civil War, and was the chief supplier of munitions. The Tredegar Iron Works are still standing on the banks of the James River.
Most of the city really did burn to the ground, but enough of it, and the people who lived there, survived. President Abraham Lincoln visited Richmond days after the documents were signed to end the war, his son Tad in tow. Days later, he was shot in the Ford’s Theater. Had he lived to see Reconstruction through, I believe the lingering Cold War between the North and the South may have been mitigated, and we may have come together, the way we did in the days after the attacks on 9/11.
With this divisive presidential election looming, my hope is that we can carry forth a lesson from the past – let’s all be stewards of this land we love – regardless of the election.