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Sutherlin Mansion in the History of America During the Civil War

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    Many historic events took place in the southern states during the time of the Civil War. Virginia and North Carolina hold many significant sites that served importantly during the war, mostly to the benefit of the Confederate troops. Out of the many historic sites, comes the Sutherland mansion. Also known as the “Last Capitol of the Confederate States of America,” it has since been turned into a museum displaying interesting information on the significance of the mansion and it’s relation to the Civil War. Many people visit each year drawn in by the captivating view.

    It’s a well-respected estate that is regularly maintained and has a welcoming, old-fashioned vibe that increasingly attracts people towards it. “Visitors come to walk through Danville’s piece of history, like Donald and Anita Chateau, who came all the way from California to take the audio guided tour. They take in the museum’s collection of cannon balls, muzzles, surgical instruments, and a tattered battlefield rebel flag. ” (Henshaw, 2010) The Sutherland mansion is a very large antique style house that is creme in color. The shape and design of the doors are very intriguing, as well as the spectacular woodwork inside and out.

    Everything in and around the mansion is perfectly built and proportioned. On the inside, the stairs reflect a great amount of beauty onto the elegant framing and design inside the mansion. It’s filled with many artifacts collected from the war, also. Even though it’s large, it still has a warm and relaxing feel. The Sutherland mansion’s design shows its historical significance by the care put into it to preserve the important part of history it’s in correlation to. It’s well maintained and very stunning to view. It would produce some very professional grade photographs, in my opinion, for any photographers traveling around that area. When completed in 1859, the beautiful Sutherlin Mansion was regarded as the most impressive, in Danville. It was the home of William T. Sutherlin, the mayor of Danville at the outbreak of the Civil War and a self-made industrialist who owned the second largest tobacco factory in Virginia” (Cox, 2011).

    The mansion is located on what was known as “Danville’s Millionaires row”. When Petersburg fell in the spring of 1865, and Richmond was evacuated, Danville was chosen as the best option for the soldiers to immigrate to. Danville was the largest city between Richmond and Atlanta. Virginia brought crucial resources to the Confederacy. Her population was the South’s largest. Her industrial capacity was nearly as great as that of the seven original Confederate states combined. The Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond was the only plant in the South capable of manufacturing heavy ordnance. ” Dr. James McPherson wrote in Battle Cry of Freedom. When President Davis and his troops arrived, William Sutherland graciously offered his home for the army’s beneficial use. President Davis occupied a bedroom at the rear of the house on the second floor for the week of April 3-10, 1865.

    It was there that he signed his final proclamation. The desk President Davis used for the signing of the document is now on display inside the mansion for public viewing. This mansion, setting on a four acre estate, was where Jefferson Davis and his cabinet met for the last time, the only person absent being Breckinridge. Also, decisions were made regarding the gold and silver of the Confederate treasury. To this day the treasure is rumored to be somewhere inside the city, hid away. The Confederate government ended on April 10, when news arrived that Lee surrendered at the Appomattox courthouse.

    The war was finally over. Reports show that meetings were held by the Confederacy in Charlotte but Danville is considered the official last meeting by Davis and his full cabinet. Jefferson Davis thought Lee would win the war and would hold out, but Lee’s army wasn’t capable. After Lee surrendered, Davis fled but was caught in Georgia while trying to get to Mississippi. My reaction to the Sutherlin Mansion was filled with amazement and excitement. I was very pleased with the landscape of the yard, the mansion inside and out, and the overall knowledge I gained through the experience of going there.

    It was a very beautiful place. I enjoyed going and I’m glad I got the privilege of going there. It produced a different view of Danville for me, one that was classy and historical. I always pictured Danville as a dead town with not much to do, but now I saw that it has a lot more to offer than I thought. I just had to go out and look around. The area surrounded the Sutherlin mansion offers a lot of information and historic buildings and churches. It really was an awesome trip. I plan to visit more sites after this one because I had a great day.

    After we went to the historic site, we ate, and had a lot of fun. I have enjoyed American History and this project was perhaps my favorite out of the semester. I didn’t expect such an important place to be located so close to home. I always thought that to see something, I’d have to cross a few states. I never knew such important and interesting places were located so close to home. I plan to visit more sites in the future. My proof: Cites: Groundspeak, Inc. (n. d. ). Sutherlin Mansion – Danville, Virginia. Retrieved November 14, 2012, from Sutherlin Mansion – Danville, Virginia website: http://www. aymarking. com/waymarks/WM2X56_Sutherlin_Mansion_Danville_Virginia [Special issue]. (2010). History Museum Shows Danville’s Civil War History, May(7). Cox, D. (2011). Last confederacy of the capitol, Virginia. Retrieved November 14, 2012, from Last Capital of the Confederacy website: http://www. exploresouthernhistory. com/sutherlin. html Civil war trust. (2011). Last Capitol of the Confederacy – Danville, Virginia. Retrieved November 14, 2012, from Capital Cities of the Confederacy Website: http://www. civilwar. org/education/history/warfare-and-logistics/ Logistics/capital. html

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