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[517] General Kilpatrick, who was in our rear but not united to our column. As soon as we were safe in Lee's rear, we took the road to Chancellorsville, and thence to Spotsylvania Courthouse. Keeping to the right we struck the road leading to Frederick shall station, on the Virginia Central Railroad, where we intended to make the first strike, as there were at that time sixty-eight pieces of artillery parked around the station, and only guarded by artillerymen armed with sabres.

About two miles from the station we met an intelligent (?) contraband who had just left it, and learned from him that there had been troops sent from the front to guard the guns and commissary stores. The Colonel concluded not to risk a fight, for it might prevent him from carrying out the main object of the expedition, which was to get in the rear of Richmond and make an attack at the same time Kilpatrick was to make an attack on the Brooke pike, enter the city, liberate the prisoners in Libby, Castle Thunder, and Belle Isle, capture as many of the officers as possible, destroy the arsenal, commissary, and quartermaster stores, and all endeavor to escape down the peninsula to General Butler's lines.

The Colonel found another contraband who said he could take us on a by-road about two miles south of the station, where we could cross the railroad and get on one that would take us into Goochland county. We took him along, and while going through the woods captured a four horse wagon and seven men getting wood. We had them throw off the wood and climb on the wagon and turn into line. We had not gone more than a mile when our attention was called to a number of horses hitched around a log cabin. Lieutenant Merritt was ordered to make a dash with the advance guard and see what was going on. The result was the capture of eight commissioned officers and a few privates, being the sudden adjournment of a court-martial. In the number was one colonel and two majors. We soon after came to the railroad and set to work tearing it up, which we did for a considerable distance, also the telegraph—but time was of as much importance to us as the railroad, so we did not stay long but struck across the country for Dover Mills on the James river. We travelled as fast as our horses could carry us and by night the rain began to fall, but we had a long ride yet to the river, which we wanted to cross at daylight next morning. So on we plodded through mud, rain, and darkness, such as I never experienced, guided by a contraband sent from Washington city to take us through to Dover Mills and show us a ford where we could cross to the south side of


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Kilpatrick (2)
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