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Richmond Burning

The Last Days of the Confederate Capital

Nelson Lankford


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Nelson Lankford draws upon Civil War-era diaries, letters, memoirs, and newspaper reports to vividly recapture the experiences of the men and women, both black and white, who witnessed the tumultuous fall of Richmond. In April 1865 General Robert E. Lee realized that his army must retreat from the Confederate capital and that Jefferson Davis's government must flee. As the Southern soldiers moved out they set the city on fire, leaving a blazing ruin to greet the entering Union troops. The city's fall ushered in the birth of the modern United States. Lankford's exploration of this pivotal event is at once an authoritative work of history and a stunning piece of dramatic prose.

Praise For Richmond Burning: The Last Days of the Confederate Capital

"An absorbing study of the Confederacy's last hours and a city in ruins." —Kirkus Reviews

"Superb...Lankford has turned a huge body of material into a narrative that captures both the frenetic pace of events and their many undercurrents. ....Even the icons Lincoln and Lee live and breathe on the page." —Baltimore Sun


Penguin Books, 9780142003107, 336pp.

Publication Date: July 29, 2003

About the Author

Nelson Lankford edits The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, the quarterly journal of the Virginia Historical Society. A resident of Richmond, he is the co-editor of Eye of the Storm and Images from the Storm and author of The Last American Aristocrat.