Richmond was a peaceful, prosperous, sophisticated and charming, southern city. There was a fashionable society of wealthy plantation owners who enjoyed the Good Life. Then, it became the Capital of the Confederacy. As such, it also brought soldiers and all the camp followers; gamblers, thieves, prostitutes - disreputable people. Compound that situation with a shrinking economy, inflation, shortage of food and other necessities, and you have a recipe for looting, crime, poverty and degradation.