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[283] When about a mile from the late scene of action the ambulances, under charge of surgeon Williams, of the 2d North Carolina Cavalry, were met by a column of troops. The driver of the advance ambulance, sharing in the elation of our victory, commenced to relate vociferously the events that had just transpired to the officer at the head of this column, supposing in the darkness that they were some of our own people. Dr. Williams coming up at this juncture, realizing from some cause, perhaps from pronunciation, as in the case just related, that he was in the presence of the enemy, remarked to the officer in command that he supposed that he and his train were captured. The officer asked him what command had done all this mischief. Dr. Williams discreetly replied that it was Hampton's Division. After a few remarks the officer dismissed Dr. Williams, telling him he did not wish to be encumbered with wounded, and thinking that he was doubtless in a very critical situation, marched no further in the direction of the camp-fires he had been seeking, but filed off by a left-hand road, making all possible haste to the Peninsula. This force was the 500 picked men, under Dahlgren, who had gone to the upper James, and being unable to cross, as was his first design, on account of continuous rains, was now seeking a junction with Kilpatrick, with a view of making a combined attack on Richmond at daylight next morning. The purpose of this paper is not to expand on the gallant Dahlgren and the tragic ending of his life next day — they are matters dilated upon at great length by both historians mentioned, when the causes that forced him into King and Queen county in such defenceless condition and that accomplished the failure of this dastardly enterprise, have been entirely ignored. But for Hampton and his little band of, shall I say, braves, Kilpatrick and Dahlgren would have combined their forces that night, and at dawn would have taken and burned the city, released the prisoners, and if all their designs were accomplished would have murdered the President and his cabinet. This was of easy accomplishment, because there were no troops in the city to defend it, and none could be gotten from Lee's army over the railroad the enemy had destroyed.

It is possible that these flourishing historians attribute the deliverance of the city to the cowardice of the enemy, because it would not sound grand to say that the capital of the Confederate States of America, and the capital of the great Commonwealth of Virginia, the mother of Presidents and generals, was saved from destruction by two hundred and fifty ‘Tar Heels,’ under a general who came


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