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 Surrender of Norfolk - Entering the city May 10, 1862




His Honor W. W. Lamb, Mayor, then handed the general and staff to seats in the hacks, and the whole party drove up Church street to the City Hall, accompanied only by General Wool’s body – Guard of mounted men.  Mr. T.R. Davis, special artist of Harper’s Weekly, your own correspondent, and Mr. L. W. Wallazz, were the first Northern men to enter the city, being nearly half a mile ahead of the carriages.  They were met by crowds of contrabands, who laughed and grinned, and laughed again, and could not tell what to make of it, but passed us by, anxious to behold the handsomely – uniformed cavalry, with their bright sabers gleaming in the sunlight.

The inhabitants seemed to be much frightened along the route.  All the doors were bolted and barred, and the window shutters locked.  The families generally had retired to upper stories, and the women leaned out of the windows with their children in their arms, to behold the entry of the national forces.  Suddenly a man came running down the street post – haste, inquired if the “d – d Yankees was a comin,”  But few insults were offered to the invading forces.  Some few ladies so far forgot themselves as to throw gloves at the troops and spit at them.  But generally the most excellent order prevailed throughout the city, and there was not a man who did not seem impressed with the absolute importance and necessity of strictly obeying not only every word, but every glance and looked of the beloved Lamb.  Mild and gentle as his name predicates, Mr. Lamb seemed to govern the people of Norfolk with perfect ease.

At last the City Hall is reached.  The officers are handed from the hacks into the main gateway of the hall, and thence to a large room in the second story.  The people push up the stairway after the officers.  The Mayor assures the General that no harm or obstruction whatever shall be witnessed.

He turns suddenly to the people and quietly requests them to leave the premises, (which they do at once,) giving as a reason that he has some private business yet to transact with the general.  After a short conference, General Wool publishes the following proclamation:


The city of Norfolk having been surrendered to Government of the United States, military possession of the same is taken, in behalf of the National Government, by Major General John E. Wool.

Brigadier General Viele is appointed Military Governor for the time being.  He will see that all citizens are carefully protected in all their rights and civil privileges, taking the utmost care to preserve order, and to see that no soldier be permitted to enter the city except by his order, or by written permission of the commanding officer of his brigade or regiment, and he will punish summarily any American soldier who shall trespass upon the rights of the inhabitants.

John E. Wool
Major General

The general then returns to the hack, and rides out to the head of his column, having appointed Brigadier General Viele Military Governor of the city.  He then gives directions to the commanders of brigades for the proper occupation of the city.

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Surrender of Nofolk Continued

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Source of Information

The Press, Philadelphia, PA Newspaper, Tuesday, May 13, 1862.

Image from Harper's Weekly May 24, 1862.