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 General Kilpatrick with five thousand picked cavalry and a light battery of six guns, left Stevensburg, near Culpeper Court House, for the lower fords of the Rapidan. His object was to make a dash upon Richmond for the purposes of releasing the United States prisoners and doing whatever injury might be possible. He moved rapidly, destroying railroads and depots and plundering the country, but found no obstacle except in being closely harassed in his rear by Colonel Bradley T. Johnson with his sixty Marylanders, who, with extraordinary daring, activity, and skill, followed him until he reached the line of the defenses of Richmond. There, while attacked in the rear by Colonel Johnson and his pickets driven in, he was at the same time opposed in front by Colonel W. H. Stevens, who, with a detachment of engineer troops, manned a few sections of light artillery. After an engagement of thirty minutes, Kilpatrick's entire force began to retreat in the direction of the Meadow Bridge on the Central Railroad. At night his campfires were discovered by General Wade Hampton, who dismounted one hundred men to act as infantry, and, supported by the cavalry, opened his two-gun battery upon the enemy at short range. He then attacked the camp of Davies's and of a part of two other brigades. The camp was taken, and the whole force of Kilpatrick fled at a gallop, leaving one hundred and five prisoners and more than one hundred horses. Colonel Dahlgren started with General Kilpatrick, but at Spotsylvania Court House was dispatched with five hundred men to Fredericks Hall, a depot of the Central Railroad, where some eighty pieces of our reserve artillery had been parked. His orders were to destroy the artillery, the railroads, and telegraph lines. Finding the artillery too well guarded, he proceeded to destroy the line of railroad as far as Hanover Junction. Thence he moved toward the James River and Kanawha Canal, which he reached twenty-two miles west of Richmond. Thence his command moved toward the city, pillaging and destroying dwelling houses, outbuildings, mills, canal boats, grain, and cattle, and cutting one lock on the canal. The first resistance met was by a battalion of General G. W. C. Lee's force, consisting of about two hundred twenty of the armory men under command of their major, Ford. This small body was driven back until it joined a battalion of the Treasury Department clerks who, in the absence of their major, Henly, were led by Captain McIlhenney. The officers and men were all clerks of the Treasury Department, and, like those of other departments and many citizens of Richmond who were either too old or too young to be in the army, were enrolled and organized to defend the capital in the absence of troops. Captain
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