On Sunday morning, April 2, 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was notified while in church that Petersburg was falling. By noon, the evacuation of the Confederate government and army from Richmond was set in motion. Late Sunday evening, a train left Danville Station carrying Davis and other officials, and during the night the Confederate troops guarding Richmond marched out to the southwest.
Before dawn on Monday, April 3rd, naval vessels and military stores were blown up, bringing people out on the streets. Many gathered near Shockoe Slip where warehouses of provisions had been opened up. Looting began and mobs formed, attracting deserters, escaped prisoners, and others, many drunk on whiskey.
Around 7:30 a.m. on the 3rd, the last Confederate forces moved out of Richmond crossing Mayo's Bridge at 14th Street. The bridge was set fire just as the first Union soldiers arrived. Chaos reigned.