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[578] through this department. Requisitions were made the last of February for a quantity of torpedoes, rat-tail files, turpentine, oakum, and other inflammable articles. For what were they to be used? and in such haste too? for the order was for immediate use. Why, General Kilpatrick was going on a raid again; or, perhaps, (as the Hon. J. M. Howard told us in our little theatre at Stevensburgh,) we were going into Richmond. Acting in the capacity I now do, I had no occasion to go, but love of adventure got the better of the comforts of our snug little office, and I begged the privilege of accompanying the expedition, which was granted, and on Sunday, at five P. M., I was at General Kilpatrick's headquarters, and reported in charge of three sixmule teams, loaded with assorted ammunition. The evening was cold and cheerless, with drizzling rain.

In a short time the cavalry began to draw up under their several commanders. It was here that General Kilpatrick gave Colonel Dahlgren and Major Cook their orders. I heard him say to the Major: “Good-by, Major; do this thing up clean for me, and then ask any thing you like.” The Major replied, as he rode off: “You will find it all right, General, depend on me.” As his command started, Colonel Dahlgren being a cripple, rode in an ambulance. Their orders were to go to Richmond by the James River, and signal us, (the other commands,) when a rush simultaneously was to be made on the city. But you must have seen by the papers how treachery foiled its accomplishment.

At dark, “Kill” was in the saddle, and the column moved across the Rapidan, at Ely's Ford, where we captured the picket post of a captain and fourteen men. We were now within their lines, and great caution was necessary; but we marched all night, no rest, for we had to get to the rear of Lee's forces. Monday, A. M., we reached Beaver Dam and cut the telegraph. We were now in Spottsylvania County, and created consternation among the inhabitants. On coming to the railroad, parties were detached up and down the line to demolish it, blow up bridges, etc. The air became full of smoke as we neared Beaver Dam Station, which was all in flames, with a train of cars, hundreds of cords of wood, and every thing of value, consigned to the flames.

This day we halted and slept for an hour or so, and then continued our march. The roads were very rough. One of my wagons upset in a creek, and I lost some of my ammunition. All along the route the darkeys flock to us and solicit the privilege of going with us, as they say, to the land of freedom. Every plantation on the road has to pay tribute to the “Yank,” according to their stock, which is never very definitely ascertained, for time presses, and we come down on them like “June bugs,” cleaning them out of every thing in the line of forage, horses, mules, provision, etc.

Tuesday was rainy, with sleet. We cross the north branch of the Chickahominy and Pamunkey rivers, and pass a large mansion belonging to a Dr. Bassett, whose darkeys all leave and become contrabands. This is at Ashland, and a sign-post shows us seventeen miles to Richmond. The railroad passes through this place, or rather it did, for we tore up the track for miles and burned the station. We now cross the south branch of the Pamunkey River, on a high bridge. My mules being weary, the General gave orders to destroy some of the load, which I did by throwing twenty-six boxes of ammunition into the river. After our forces had crossed, the bridge was burned.

It was at this place the rebel infantry that had been marching in our rear, caught up; but we drove them back and got across the river safely, destroying the bridge after us. They could follow no further. We burn all the bridges we come to, and tear up the track of the Fredericksburgh Railroad. We take many prisoners out of the houses along the road, mostly cavalry, who say they are disbanded till the fifteenth of March, to recruit their horses.

At three P. M. we are inside the outer fortifications, and only two miles and a half from the city of Richmond. The ball opens from our batteries and the rebels. We pick out a camping ground, and lay down to sleep, almost in range of their guns. I was awakened at eleven P. M., by the boom of cannon very close. I started up to find my train deserted by all except my teamsters. I rushed up to the General's headquarters, but found it vacated, the lights left burning, but no one one to give any orders. I knew no time was to be lost, so hurried my men to get the mules to the wagons, and they did hurry, for by this time the grape and canister came pouring in. Had they known my train had been there, they could have gobbled us up. Never did teamsters get ready quicker. But, now, where to go to, was the query; we did not know the road our columns had taken, but I chose the one opposite to Richmond, and kept on at double-quick, till we luckily came to our men; we marched till three A. M., and then went into camp and slept till morning.

Wednesday--the snow had fallen in the night, but fast disappeared by the warm sun that came out in the morning. Having well rested and eaten a good breakfast, we start again toward the White-House Landing. Pass the “Old house Hotel,” and Post-Office on the “Piping Ford” road. Cross the Chickahominy. We are trying to get to General Butler's lines. The remnant of Major Cook's command overtake us, and we hear of the loss and capture of Colonel Dahlgren, Major Cook, and half their men. This for the time throws a gloom along the lines, which up to the time had been very buoyant. We try to go across the Pamunkey, but the rebels have destroyed the bridge. The General goes with a negro to see a ferry-boat, but finds that it would take too long to get over four thousand men and horses that way. This evening the rebs attacked our outside picket reserve, and captured several of the Seventh Michigan and First Vermont cavalry. We camped for the night without

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