CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA
Executive Office, Richmond, Va., April 2, 1865
SIR: General Lee advises the Government to withdraw from this city, and the officers will leave this evening accordingly.
I presume that General Lee has advised you of this and of his movements, and made suggestions as to the disposition to be made of your squadron. He withdraws from his lines toward Danville this night: and, unless otherwise directed by General Lee, upon you is devolved the duty of destroying your ships this night, and with all the forces under your command, joining General Lee. Confer with him, if practicable, before destroying them.
Let your people be rationed as far as possible for the march and armed and equipped duly in the field.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Secretary of the Navy
Rear-Admiral RAPHAEL SEMMES,
Commanding James River Squadron