THE TRAIN TO DANVILLE



To Danville now then we must go,
Once more to stand and fight.
For Richmond she is dying now,
With flames that shine so bright.
We are to go this very night, 
But first we burn our fleet.
It hurts my soul, so deep inside
the end, so close to meet.

For Sherman he approaches,
His troops do shout and sing.
But we`re not beaten yet dear Lord,
For hope eternal springs.
When fleet is gone, I`ll take my men
To find a railroad train,
And down the track at Danville,
We`ll face our foe again.

The enemy is everywhere, 
He seems to move so fast.
I fear this stand at Danville,
May prove to be our last.
But we`ll not shirk, nor run and hide,
We`ll face him once again,
To show the heart and lion`s pride
Of decent Southern men.

And should I die this very night,
Don`t let me fade away.
Remeber me please now and then,
As you watch children play. 
Think of how it was for us,
That poor bedraggled band,
Who took the train to Danville,
To fight, for Dixieland.

"The General" 


Copyright Roy Rawlinson Sept. 24th 1999



 

History


 
In early April 1865. Rear Admiral Raphael Semmes was in command of all vessels on the James River. He received orders from Robt. E. Lee that the Confederate  Government was to evacuate Richmond overnight, and that he was to burn the fleet, and then repair to Danville with his men. It was dawn before they finished destroying the ships, and the last "official" train had left.  He had to commandeer a train, and remove civilians from it.  On arrival in Danville he had meetings with Jefferson Davis and Stephen Mallory, he was inducted into the Confederate Army with the rank of Brigadier General. The only person in the war to hold staff officer rank in both services. He was at Danville, in the trenches for 9 days, before being ordered to Greensboro, NC.
 

Roy