In an 1862 letter to his wife, Anna, William Keeler described the moment he saw a slave became a free man. It was late at night on May 16, and he was below decks on the Monitor, the Union ironclad then on duty off City Point in Virginia’s James River, 15 miles southeast of Richmond and 70 miles inside hostile territory
More than 25 percent of buildings in Richmond, Virginia, were destroyed by fires set by retreating Confederates in April 1865. Above, two women in the "burnt district." Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Washington D. C.
"Historians like Eric Jacobson have long-tenuated that the fighting that took place between Confederates and Federal units on this exact land during the battle was some of the fiercest ever waged in the Civil War. Much of the fighting took place at night, in hand-to-hand combat, and the outcome was in doubt to the very last hours of the action. Confederate Generals Patrick Cleburne and John Adams fell mortally wounded within sight of the original cotton gin." November 30, 1864