New-York times narrative.
An account by a participant.
New-York Tribune account.
The following letter was written by a member of the Fourth Pennsylvania cavalry, who participated in the raid:
Rebel reports and Narratives.
Special orders and instructions.
The following special orders were written on a similar sheet of paper, and on detached slips, the whole disclosing the diabolical plans of the leaders of the expedition:
Guides and pioneers, with oakum, turpentine and torpedoes, signal-officer, quartermasters, commissaries, scouts and pickets, and men in rebel uniforms — these will remain on the north bank and move down with the force on the south bank, not get ahead of them, and if the communication can be kept up without giving an alarm, it must be done; but every thing depends upon a surprise, and no one must be allowed to pass ahead of the column; information must be gathered in regard to the crossings of the river, so that, should we be repulsed on the south side, we will know where to recross at the nearest point.
All mills must be burned and the canal destroyed, and also every thing which can be used by the rebels must be destroyed, including the boats on the river.
Should a ferry-boat be seized which can be worked, have it moved down.
Keep the force on the south side posted of any important movement of the enemy, and in case of danger, some of the scouts must swim the river and bring us information.
As we approach the city, the party must take great care that they do not get ahead of the other party on the south side, and must conceal themselves and watch our movements.
We will try and secure the bridge to the city, one mile below Belle Isle
, and release the prisoners at the same time.
If we don't succeed they must then dash down, and we will try to carry the bridge by storm.
When necessary the men must be filed through the woods and along the river bank.
The bridge once secured and the prisoners loose and over the river, the bridges will be burned and the city destroyed.
The men must be kept together and well in hand, and, once in the city, it must be destroyed and Jeff Davis
and his cabinet killed.
Pioneers will go along with combustible material.
The officer must use his discretion about the time of assisting us. Horses and cattle which we do not need immediately, must be shot rather than left.
Every thing on the canal and elsewhere, of service to the rebels, must be destroyed.
As General Custer
may follow me, be careful not to give a false alarm.
must be prepared to communicate at night by rockets, and in other things pertaining to his department.
The quartermasters and commissaries must be on the lookout for their departments, and see that there are no delays on their account.
The engineer officer will follow and survey the road as we pass over it, etc. The pioneers must be prepared to construct a bridge or destroy one.
They must have plenty of oakum and turpentine for burning, which will be soaked and rolled into balls and be given to the men to burn when we get into the city.
Torpedoes will only be used by the pioneers for burning the main bridges, etc. They must be prepared to destroy the railroads.
Men will branch off to the right with a few pioneers and destroy the bridges and railroads south of Richmond
, and then join us at the city.
They must be well prepared with torpedoes, etc.
The line of Falling Creek
is probably the best to march along, or, as they approach the city, Good's Creek
, so that no reinforcements can come up on any cars.
No one must be allowed to pass ahead, for fear of communicating news.
Rejoin the command with all haste, and if cut off, cross the river above Richmond
and rejoin us. Men will stop at Bellona Arsenal and totally destroy it, and every thing else but hospitals; then follow on and rejoin the command at Richmond
with all haste, and, if cut off, cross the river and rejoin us. As General Custer
may follow me, be careful and not give a false alarm.
Programme of the route and work.
The following is the exact copy of a paper, written in lead-pencil, which appears to have been a private memorandum of the programme that Dahlgren
had made to enable him to keep his work clearly in mind:
Saturday, leave camp at dark--six P. M.; cross Ely's Ford at ten P. M.; twenty miles, cross North-Anna
at four A. M. Sunday, feed and water one hour; three miles, Frederickshall Station, six A. M.; destroy artillery eight A. M., twenty miles; near James River
, two P. M. Sunday, feed and water one hour and a half.
Thirty miles to Richmond
March toward Kilpatrick
for one hour, and then, as soon as dark, cross the river, reaching Richmond
early in the morning of Monday.
One squadron remains on north side, one squadron to cut the railroad bridge at Falling Creek
, and join at Richmond
--eighty-three miles--General Kilpatrick
cross at one A. M., Sunday--ten miles--pass river five A. M.--resistance; Childsburgh, fourteen miles, eight A. M. Resistance at North-Anna
, three miles--railroad-bridge at South-Anna
, twenty-six miles, two P. M.; destroy bridges, pass South-Anna
, and feed until after dark, then signal each other.
After dark move down to Richmond
and be in front of the city at daybreak.
during the day, feed and water — men outside.
Be over the Pamunkey
at daybreak, feed and water, and then cross the Rappahannock
at night--Tuesday night--when they must be on the lookout.
Spies should be sent on Friday morning early, and be ready to cut — a guide furnished.
The following paper was inclosed in an envelope directed to Colonel U. Dahlgren
, etc., at General Kilpatrick
's headquarters, and marked “confidential.”
The letter is not dated:
On the margin of the letter is written:
He crossed the Rapidan
last night and has late information.
The column of Yankees under Dahlgren
took on their route two prisoners, Captain Demont
and Mr. Mountcastle
, who accompanied the force from Goochland
to the debut
From these gentlemen and other sources of information we gather some interesting accounts of Dahlgren
came down the Westham
plank-road, with eight hundred or a thousand men. The Armory
battalion was on the enemy's flank, and appears to have been completely surprised.
But when the enemy came in contact with Henley
's battalion the cavalry broke at the first fire.
The first volley of musketry seems to have done all the disaster that occurred.
There were eleven Yankees killed and some thirty or forty wounded.
After the affair Dahlgren
seemed to be anxious for his retreat, and divided his forces so as to increase the chances of escape.
The force under his immediate command moved down the south bank of the Pamunkey
, and crossed the river at Dabney's Ferry.
Their exact number was not at first easily ascertained, and, as usual, the most exaggerated accounts were soon circulated throughout the country, increasing as they spread, until the miserable fugitives from the Richmond
defences were magnified into a full brigade.
From the ferry they proceeded by the most direct route to Aylett
's, on the Mattapony
, watched closely at every step by scouts detached from Lieutenant James Pollard
's company of Lee
's Rangers, now on picket-duty and recruiting services in King
William, the residence of most of its members.
The ferry-boat having been previously removed, and Lieutenant Pollard
's arrangements for disputing their passage when they reached the King
side of the river being suspected, they dashed across the river as precipitately as possible, under the fire of a small squad of rangers left on the south bank for that purpose.
While passing through King William they captured one prisoner, Mr. William Edwards
, and several horses, and mortally wounded a man attached to the signal-corps, whose name we could not learn.
Subsequently Colonel Dahlgren
, in command of the party, ordered the release of Mr. Edwards
and the restoration of his horse and some valuables which were forcibly taken from his person when captured.
had no sooner reached King
and Queen County than they were harassed, both front and rear, by the Rangers, until Lieutenant Pollard
was reinforced by Magruder
's and Blake
's companies of the Forty-second Virginia battalion, now on picket-duty in King
, and Fox
's company of Fifth Virginia cavalry, on furlough in the same county.
Here the fight became general, resulting in the death of Colonel Dahlgren
and the capture of the greater number of the party, the rest having fled in disorder and panic to the nearest woods.
It is believed that few, if any, will reach Gloucester Point
alive, as the home-guard of King
, whose bravery was conspicuous during the whole affair, are scouring the country and cutting off escape.
A large body of this raiding party was pushing toward the peninsula at last accounts, preferring that route to the rather hazardous attempt to reach Gloucester Point
through King William and King
We regret this very much, as in both counties adequate preparations were made to prevent the soil of either county from being converted into a highway, as in the earlier period of the war, for Yankee robbers whose track is marked, wherever they are permitted to obtain a foothold, with desolation and blood.
A further account.
From information derived from a trustworthy source it appears that the credit of the capture of the “Dahlgren
party” is mainly due to Captain William M. Magruder
and a squadron of Robbins
's battalion under his command, who have for some time past been posted in King
and Queen County as a corps of observation.
Learning that the enemy was moving down the north bank of the Mattapony
by the river road, with the evident intention of reaching Gloucester Point
, Captain Magruder
determined to anticipate him, and with this view left his camp with about one hundred of his command and Lieutenant Pollard
and seventeen men of the Ninth Virginia cavalry, making for a point on the river between Mantua Ferry and King and Queen Court-House
, which he succeeded in reaching in advance of the enemy.
Posting his command at an eligible point along the road in ambush, he had not long to wait before the enemy made his appearance, headed by Dahlgren
himself, slowly and cautiously approaching, as if apprehensive of their impending fate.
As the head of the column neared the point of concealment, Dahlgren
's attention was attracted by a slight rustling in the bushes, occasioned doubtless by the movement of some of our party.
Drawing his pistol he called out: “Surrender, you damned rebel, or I'll shoot you.”
In an instant private McCoy
sprang into the road, and, levelling his piece, shot the miscreant dead.
A general volley was then poured into the enemy's ranks, which had the effect of emptying their saddles and killing as many horses and throwing the rest into inextricable confusion.
Then ensued a scene of the wildest panic, which was heightened by the intense darkness of the night.
Each man looking to his own personal safety, all sought refuge in flight, and spurring their jaded horses over the bodies of their wounded and over each other, the whole body broke pell-mell over a ditch and watling fence, which the most adventurous fox-hunter would hardly have essayed in the heat of the chase, into a small field.
M. immediately disposed his force around the field so as to prevent all egress, and quietly awaited the approach of daylight, when the whole party surrendered without resistance.
Much praise is due Captain Magruder
for his coolness and judgment in this affair.
If he had ordered a charge upon the discomfited enemy in the road, the probability is that some of our own men would have fallen by the hands of their comrades by an indiscriminate fight in the dark, while the opportunity of escape by the enemy would have been increased.
As it was, the prudent course adopted secured most effectually the result desired without a single casualty on our side.
This account strips the valorous Dahlgren
's name of the little éclat
which might have attached to it if he had fallen, as was at first stated, while boldly leading a charge in an effort to cut his way through our lines.
He was shot down, as he deserved to be, like a “thief in the night,” with his stolen plunder around him, while seeking, under cover of darkness, to elude the punishment he so richly merited.
The negro guide.
's guide, recommended to him “at the last moment” as the “very man he wanted,” by one “truly yours, John C. Babcock
,” has reached the Libby, in company with the two or three hundred brigands he attempted to guide into the heart of Richmond
His name is John A. Hogan
, an Irishman by birth, twenty-three years old, tall and lithe, with a fine open countenance.
When asked his rank, he declared himself a full high private, and did not aspire to any thing else.
Being interrogated as to his knowledge of Richmond
and its suburbs, he
said he knew it “like a bog;” he was a guest at the Hotel de Libby
in July, 1863, and knew the officers of the prison.
Then recognizing Mr. Ross
, the clerk, Hogan
broke out, “How do you do, Lieutenant Ross
Glad to see you.”
boasted of his narrow escape, having had four bullets put through his clothing and hair.
In reply to a question as to what he was fighting for, he replied he was fighting for fun. When such fun ends in a hempen rope, as we trust it will, Hogan
will cease to estimate his business a joke.
disposed of for the present, we would inquire who is this “John C. Babcock
” who sent Hogan
on his own horse to Dahlgren
If found, he should certainly be sent headlong after Dahlgren
, or brought to Richmond
to participate in whatever fate awaits the outlaws of his command held here,--Richmond Examiner
, March 8.
Spirit of the rebel press.
A review of the expedition.
The rebels, through the newspapers, have had their say about the recent raid.
As was anticipated, those located about the confederate capital very naturally were, and still are, fearfully excited at the audacity of Kilpatrick
and his troopers — they had reason to be so. This is not only what was expected, but what was hoped would be the case by all who took any particular interest in the matter; and, by the degree of their exasperation over what the Richmond
editors are pleased to call “the raid of barbarians,” may we judge the amount of damage done them and their failing cause.
The simple fact is, that in the so-called programme of operations found upon the body of the lamented Colonel Dahlgren
, they have interpolated words of their own coining, to the effect that Jeff Davis
and his cabinet were to be killed, thereby giving an importance to the proclamation (which, by the way, was never read to the troops) and the memoranda of operations which were found, not at all in accordance with the spirit actuating the instigators and leaders in the movement.
The writer was privileged to see the documents which Colonel Dahlgren
had the day he started on the expedition, and which have been spread before the public in a garbled shape through the Richmond
press, to intensify, if possible, the infernal spirits of all rebeldom in their hatred to the Union
cause and all its supporters; and although having no copy of these papers before him now, he is satisfied that there was no expression therein written which could reasonably be construed even so as to express a determination to murder any person or persons — even so great an outlaw as Jeff Davis
Stripped of this interpolation, the memoranda and proclamation do not exceed the bounds of legitimate warfare.
The planners and participators in this raid are as high-minded and honorable men as even the conceited editor of the Examiner
could wish, and the leaders of the expedition would go as far in preventing their men committing overt acts.
And even if the worst was true, how illy it becomes the indorsers of Early
, and Beauregard
in his plot to murder President Lincoln
and Lieutenant-General Scott
, to take special exceptions to this raid!
Either one of the confederate leaders named has been guilty of more doubtful acts than were ever contemplated by any body of Union raiders.
Forgetting these things, they threaten to mete out condign punishment to the prisoners captured from Kilpatrick
The real animus
, however, may be found--first, in the amount of property destroyed, some of which cannot be replaced — none of which can be well spared — and next the chagrin and mortification experienced by the bombastic South
at the fact that an expedition on so important a mission should accomplish so much under the very noses and in defiance of the Richmond Junta
; and, what is worse than all, by troops led on by Kilpatrick
--two men who, next to Butler
, are most cordially hated and feared by all opposed to the Union
cause, and for the reason that they have so often humiliated the knights of the black flag.
, particularly, has been the special object of their vengeance for ruining the prospects of one of Virginia
's best known chieftains — Stuart
of cavalry fame.
Whipped time and again by Kilpatrick
finds now among his people none so poor as to do him reverence.
Plot upon plot, similar to that concocted and nearly executed at Buckland's Mills last fall, have been laid by Stuart
, in the hope of destroying the hated and feared Kilpatrick
, hoping thereby to gain that confidence of his associates in crime lost by battling with the man whom he seeks to ruin.
In this, however, he will not be permitted to be successful.
From the rebel statements made, it would appear that Dahlgren
lost his life by neglecting to exercise the usual precautions to guard against.
surprise, and was ambushed late at night.
There was no moon on Wednesday or Thursday nights, (March second and third,) until toward morning; there was a cloudless sky both nights, and bright star-light, affording sufficient light to see objects at a distance, except in woods.
being so near Gloucester
, probably considered himself beyond all serious danger, and therefore it is possible was entrapped when least prepared for it, and almost entirely thrown off his guard.
But I am inclined to think that Major Cook
, his second in command, when at liberty to do so, will give an entirely different version of this lamentable affair.
, though brave almost to rashness, always moved cautiously when there was the possibility of a lurking enemy being near.
He had passed beyond what he considered the most critical point.
He could not have expected to find Kilpatrick
beyond the Mattapony
, for he must have heard his guns on Wednesday morning. The larger portion of his command rejoined the main column on that day at about two P. M.; he doubtless, in attempting to follow, ran upon the enemy, and was forced to cross the Pamunkey
at a point further north.
When, On Wednesday evening, he attempted to recross the Pamunkey
at Pine-Tree Farm, he was within a very few miles of Kilpatrick
, and must have seen the fires of his camp, for they were numerous and much extended by the burning of miles of basket-fence along the plantations within a, few miles of the Pamunkey
He probably supposed, however, they were fires in an enemy's camp, and therefore resolved to make his way to Gloucester
Would to God he had known whose hands kindled those extended lines of fire on that crisp March night!
The story of arrangements having been made to blow up the buildings containing Union prisoners, is simply ridiculous.
No doubt the rebel heart is bad enough for any such atrocity; but the prisoners were protected from this calamity by the fact that the humane design could not be carried into effect without sacrificing a large number of rebel lives and property.
Possessed of more than Yankee cunning, the rebel authorities, under the panic created by the shells thrown from Ransom
's battery, doubtless did attempt to intimidate the prisoners by telling them that arrangements had been made to blow up the buildings they occupied, for the purpose of preventing any general attempt to overpower the guard — a result which would doubtless have been attained had the prisoners known how near their friends were.
The rumors about blowing up prisoners has this foundation and no more.
In view of all the known facts, how puerile appear the indignities heaped upon Dahlgren
It was the old fable of kicking the dead lion.
No man in all rebeldom would have presumed to offer him an indignity when alive; but when his mangled, mutilated, and bleeding body was lying dead before them, the self-styled aristocrats, the chivalrous gentlemen of the city of Richmond
, could heap indignities upon that inanimate form with impunity.
Was ever sneaking cowardice more palpable?
Kick the dead body of the gallant Dahlgren
to your heart's content — obliterate every mark by which his resting-place may be known; heap all the indignities upon his name and fame that the incarnate fiend of secession may suggest — but it will be of no avail; his ghost won't down at your bidding; his spirit still lives in the hearts of thousands of his compatriots in arms, who have sworn to avenge the cowardly indignities attempted to be heaped upon his name and remains.