From the beginning of the American Civil War, "On to Richmond" became the rallying cry of Union troops. The Union victory at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863 was a turning point in the war, and the bulk of both armies eventually entrenched and fought around the cities of Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia.
Petersburg was an important supply center for the Confederacy, and the longest siege in American history began in mid-June 1864 when Union troops surrounded most of the city. It ended April 2-3, 1865, with the evacuation and westward retreat of the Confederate Army. With Richmond indefensible, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his staff fled south by rail to Danville, Virginia.
Davis and his cabinet crossed the Dan River and arrived in Danville on April 3, 1865. One hundred thirty-nine years later, I was rolling there on my Kawasaki ZR-7S, along with my friend Donnie Cox on his shiny Yamaha Road Star. I rode to the city from my home in Mayodan, North Carolina, following roads (NC 770 and Berry Hill Road) that trace the curves of the Dan River. It took us just an hour to reach the historic avenues.