, galloped off with whip and spur to Richmond
to notify the authorities of the enemy's proximity, and the militia, home guard and private citizens were hurried to the trenches.
's original purpose was to cross the James River
at either Jude
's ferry, on the Morson
place, or at Manakin ferry, three miles below, and to approach Richmond
by the south bank of the James
Reaching Belle Isle
, he proposed to liberate the 12,000 Federal prisoners encamped thereon, who, reinforced with his regiment, could easily sack the Confederate
capital, as Richmond
was then in an almost defenseless condition, the reserves having been sent to Lee
at the front.
There was found upon Dahlgren
's body a memorandum, in which the young man had made a wager that he would hang Jeff Davis
and his cabinet on that raid.
But the fates were against him, as he was repulsed that evening in a desperate charge on the fortifications and later killed.
He was ignorant of the depth of water at the ferry crossings, and therefore paid a burly, black negro man from the Stanard
place, who professed safe knowledge of the ferry, $10 to pilot the troop of cavalry safely across to the south bank.
They had not proceeded half way across the stream when the advance horsemen were over their heads, and one of the number drowned.
A retreat was promptly ordered, the negro was hanged after a ‘drum-head’ court martial, and his body left swinging from a limb over the roadside.
The neighbors allowed this coal-black corpse to hang there for a week as an object lesson to impress the slaves of the vicinage with a new idea of Northern feeling toward the blacks.
I shall never forget when a seven-year-old boy, and passing along the road one evening at twilight, how the cold chills ran over me when this gruesome spectacle met my horrified vision—the neck of the darky thrice its ordinary length and his immense pedal extremities suspended scarcely three feet above the ground.
and his staff dashed up to the Hobson home at dawn with drawn revolvers, one of the men inquired, ‘ Where is the man that hanged John Brown
, who had come out on the porch, replied, ‘If you mean my father, General Wise
, he is not in this house.’
At this very moment, Mrs. Mayo
could see her father and Mr. Hobson
entering the woodland in a sweeping gallop about 400 yards distant on the road to Richmond
The negroes had advised Colonel Dahlgren
that General Wise
was visiting Eastwood