The private memorandum-book of Col. Dahlgren
, which has been deposited in the War Department, places beyond all doubt the devilish scheme to destroy the city of Richmond
, and to kill the President
The authenticity of these is fully established by that high-minded and gallant officer, Gen. Fitzhugh Lee
, who states that there was no opportunity of altering them unless by the courier who was dispatched with them, and that there was no writing whatever interlined in them.
It is important that this document should be carefully preserved; that it should be put in a place where none of the numerous spies, villains, and other Federal employees in Richmond
could lay their fingers upon it, and also be secure from incendiarism; for the late destructive fire near the War Department, which was near involving that building in the surrounding ruins, would have more than paid the Yankee
operators if the Department had contained nothing else but Dahlgren
For the present nation of this private document no ordinary vigilance should be exercised.
It might be well, perhaps, to remove it from the War Department, and deposit it in some place not generally known to the public.
At the same time, it is equally important that the civilized world should be placed in possession of the facts demonstrating its authenticity, so that the unparalleled villains by whom it was planned shall not have the opportunity of escaping the responsibility of their crimes.
We would especially invite the attention of representatives of foreign powers and intelligent visitors from Europe
to this manuscript in Dahlgren
's own hand, so as to give them an opportunity, by personal inspection, to judge for themselves the shallow Yankee evasion of forgery and interlineation.
It would also be well to multiply fac simile copies, which, with official attestation of their accuracy should at once be sent abroad.
With reference to those orders of Dahlgren
, already published, the Yankees
pretend that the application of the torch so freely directed therein was only intended for public buildings, and that the order to kill the President
and Cabinet was a rebel interpolation.
No one can read those orders, flow over, without being satisfied that the universal destruction of Richmond
, "that hated city," was the object, and this is put beyond all doubt by the language of the private memorandum book. "The city must be destroyed
"--this is its language.
The reserve must "go up the principal streets, and destroying everything before them," "you must encourage the prisoners to destroy the city make one vast flame of it."
The other part, in regard to the killing of the President
and Cabinet, is also placed beyond question by the private memorandum book.
A Philadelphia journal, in laboring to propagate the idea that the order to kill the chief officers
of the Government
was a rebel interlineation, remarked that Dahlgren
would have been only too proud to bear off the rebel President
and his Cabinet prisoners to the North
This might be true of most officers of the regular armies, and perhaps of Dahlgren
also, but who is there so absurd as to suppose that the orders of Dahlgren
were issued on his own responsibility?
Who supposes that he acted under any but the most explicit instructions from Washington
, and that if the dead bodies of Kilpatrick
had been found there would not also have been found just such orders as Dahlgren
had in his pocket.
The reason why Dahlgren
was directed to kill the President
and Cabinet instead of making them prisoners, was simply to avoid all the difficulties and the possibility of their ultimate escape which would arise from reserving them for trial.
It would be a very inconvenient thing to have Jeff. Davis
alive on their hands, and the possibility of some very important prisoners coming into ours, who would be dealt with in like manner.--But the private memorandum book of Dahlgren
settles this question also. "Jeff Davis and Cabinet must be killed on the spot.
" These are its precise words.
Indeed, after devoting a city crowded with helpless women and children to the sack (confessed as one of Kilpatrick
's objects while the expedition was in progress) and to "one vast flame," the killing of the President
and Cabinet could not heighten the enormity of their wickedness.
No reasoning is needed to satisfy ourselves of the reality of plans which are before our own eyes in Dahlgren
's own handwriting, which were found upon his dead body, and the authenticity of which is established by Gen. Fitzhugh Lee
But we want the whole world to know as well as ourselves what kind of people we are fighting.
We do not even except those amiable persons in the North
who dream of reconstruction.
Let them look at the dead Union by the light of Dahlgren
's turpentine and oakum.