Very little is known of the early career of Thomas C. Roche. During the Civil War he worked for E. & H. T. Anthony Company, New York, publishers of cartes-de-visite and stereoscopic views and distributors of photographic supplies. In early April 1865, near the war's end, Roche received special orders from Anthony to work for General Montgomery Meigs. As quartermaster of the Union Army, Meigs was responsible for the procurement and transportation of everything from bootlaces to artillery. He was also an amateur photographer and recognized the military usefulness of documentary photography. This view shows the ruins of Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederacy, soon after Jefferson Davis and his Confederate cabinet evacuated the city on April 3, 1865. Fires intentionally set by fleeing Confederates and looters destroyed much of the city otherwise untouched by the Union Army. On April 9, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant, effectively putting an end to the Confederacy and then, a few weeks later, the Civil War.