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[124] Confederate property, but through the alleged treachery of a guide, the raiders were led out of their course. A portion of the command became separated; Dahlgren, with about one hundred and fifty troopers, was ambushed near Walkerton, and the leader killed and most of his force captured. The remainder of Dahlgren's command, under Captain Mitchell, managed to rejoin Kilpatrick, who had meanwhile threatened Richmond from the north, and who, finding the city prepared for his attack, finally withdrew across the Chickahominy and joined General Butler on the Peninsula, March 3, 1864.

The Kilpatrick raid failed in its main object, but that it might easily have succeeded seems evident from Confederate correspondence, which shows that the interception of a despatch from Dahlgren to Kilpatrick, asking what hour the latter had fixed for a simultaneous attack upon Richmond, alone made it possible for the Confederates successfully to defend the city.

When, early in 1864, General Grant gave Sheridan the long hoped for opportunity to “whip Stuart,” and until the final end at Appomattox, this peerless cavalry leader never missed an opportunity to cut loose from the main army, drawing off from Grant's flanks and rear the enterprising and oftentimes dangerous Confederate cavalry, cutting Lee's communications with the South and Southwest time and again, and destroying immense quantities of the precious and carefully husbanded supplies of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Sheridan's Richmond raid, probably the most daring and sensational of these more or less independent operations, had for its object, not so much the destruction of Confederate property, as to draw Stuart and his cavalry away from the Union army's long lines of supply-trains, and then to defeat the great Confederate trooper.

In May, 1864, Sheridan's splendid body of horsemen, ten thousand in number and forming a column thirteen miles in length, moved out from the vicinity of Spotsylvania, through Chilesburg and Glen Allen Station. At Yellow Tavern the

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Philip Henry Sheridan (3)
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