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[186] sight were the relics of the noble dead permitted such sepulture as a hasty grave could afford.

Be it remembered that to this time nothing was known of the forged document. But presently it came to the upper chivalry at Richmond that one of the leaders of the expedition had fallen. Frenzied with terror at the possible consequences of the success of the undertaking — for they had every reason to dread that the vengeance of the released prisoners would respect no person — they sought a pretext for the meditated villany on the body of Colonel Dahlgren in a forgery which they thought would extenuate all disregard of every dictate of manhood and humanity.

So they forged the lie and gave it currency in all the minuteness of a seeming fac-simile, while the original counterfeit was so recklessly executed that the shameful deceit could not fail to be apparent to any one having the least knowledge of Colonel Dahlgren's handwriting.

So the remains of the heroic dead were torn from the grave, conveyed to Richmond, and there exposed to the taunts and gaze of a mob; then hurried away, in the obscurity of the night, to some shameless spot, whence it was intended they should never be recovered.

There was an ingenuity in this contrived villany from which the mind recoils with horror.

Contrast the high and holy purpose of the Union soldier — his devotion to it, even to death; his calm, undaunted courage, graced by every milder virtue; his kindly hospitality to the captive rebel officer, so illy requited; contrast these with the craven cowardice of the ruffians who beset him and did midnight murder; their brutal desecration of his body; and worse than these, the crimes of the higher chivalry, who made war on the dead as such could only wage. Contrast these, and say if it were not happier to die as did Ulric Dahlgren — so true, so gentle, and so brave — than to live as those do who, to destroy his fair name, have justified and exulted in his assassination, and forged a lie, to their eternal infamy.

It was not only in the dark hours of closing life that Colonel Dahlgren's admirable qualities were exhibited; his whole life was ennobled by the presence of every trait that can adorn humanity.

He had completed the first year of his manhood when he was so basely assassinated; yet by his bravery and devotion on many a battlefield, he had won the high, but well-deserved, rank of Colonel of Cavalry. That commission was transmitted with the following letter:

Washington, July 24, 1862.
Dear sir: Enclosed you have a commission for Colonel, without having passed through the intermediate grade of Major. Your gallant and meritorious service has, I think, entitled you to this distinction, although it is a departure from general usage, which is only justified by distinguished merit such as yours. I hope you may speedily recover, and it will rejoice me to be the instrument of your future advancement in the service.

With great regard,

I am yours truly,

He was tall, well-built, and graceful; his frame gave every promise of future strength, but as yet lacked the development of the matured man, and was divested of all spare flesh by a life of constant activity in the saddle.

To the casual observer he appeared like a very young and very diffident man — gentle and unobtrusive, a moderate talker, and always of pleasant mood; but beneath lay a character of the firmest mould, a constancy of purpose never to be diverted from its object, courage that was never disturbed by any danger, impulses of the purest nature habitually in exercise, producing a course of life unblemished by the least meanness — a good son, a warm friend, dutiful alike to God and man. I can now look back over the whole of his young life, and declare that in no instance did he ever fail in the most respectful obedience to my least wish. A more perfect and lovely character I cannot conceive.

His mind was of no common order, and he had been carefully educated. He was well-read in classics, a good mathematician, and expert with the pencil. He delighted in all manly exercises, was an excellent swimmer, and, as a horseman, not surpassed, but was a bold, practised and elegant rider.

As a soldier his conception was quick, his judgment deliberate, but in execution rapid as lightning No one would recognize him as the unobtrusive, retiring youth he might have passed in a throng. Having spent so much of his leisure time with me in the Ordnance Department, he had a rare knowledge of gunnery, which was often turned to good account in the field.

His courage was not of that rampant character so troublesome to friend as well as foe, but came forth instantly at the first sign of danger.

To these qualities he added a deep sense of religious obligation, having been carefully trained by a departed mother to the church and to the Sunday-school. But in this, as in many other respects, he was not demonstrative.

When apparently at the verge of death from a wound, and reminded of the danger, he smiled, and said that he had never gone into battle without asking forgiveness of his sins and commending his soul to his Maker.

And so passed away this young life, so radiant in promise.

Nor is it only a father's love and affection that prompts such praise, as the many who knew him will confirm.

Full testimony has been borne to his record in the school from which he had withdrawn but a few years before, and from the pulpit of the

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Ulric Dahlgren (5)
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