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[581] have richly deserved the victor's crown, interposed to prevent the consummation of one of the best-conceived and most brilliant plans of the whole war.

Colonel Dahlgren had taken a negro to pilot him to Richmond. His detachment had rapidly moved across the country, destroying barns, forage and every thing which could possibly be of service to the enemy. Pushing on so as to reach Richmond as soon as possible, Colonel Dahlgren discovered that his negro guide had betrayed him, and led him toward Goochland instead of to Richmond, and Tuesday midnight found himself miles in just the opposite direction from that which he wished to take. The negro was promptly hanged for his baseness.

Exasperated by this treachery, the men burned the barns and out-buildings of John A. Seddons, the rebel Secretary of War, and it is, perhaps, fortunate that the gentleman himself was not present. Retracing his steps, Colonel Dahlgren marched down the river road, destroying the Dover flour-mills, several flouring establishments and saw-mills. His force also did considerable injury to the James River Canal, burning canal-boats and seriously damaging one or two locks.

They did not reach the immediate vicinity of Richmond till afternoon, when every body was on the alert, Kilpatrick having already made his attack.

Colonel Dahlgren's detachment was divided into several parties for the accomplishment of different objects, keeping together, however. One party attempted to cross the river, but were repulsed. A very sharp fight ensued, and, finding the enemy in superior numbers and confronting them on every road, the force was compelled to fall back.

In attempting to cut their way out, Colonel Dahlgren and Major Cook of the Second New-York, with about one hundred and fifty men, got separated from the rest. The other detachments succeeded in rejoining General Kilpatrick, but nothing has been heard of this one. The people on the road and some of the prisoners aver that a Colonel who had but one leg was captured by the rebels. If so, it is feared he must have been wounded, but strong hopes are entertained that with his usual determination he has cut his way through with at least part of his hundred and fifty men. Meanwhile, General Kilpatrick had advanced down the Brooks turnpike from Ashland, having torn up the rails at that point, destroying the telegraph as he marched. At one of the stations, however, the operator succeeded in sending a despatch to Richmond announcing that the Yankees were coining. He was a prisoner in less than fifteen minutes, but that short time put Richmond on the qui vive, and it has since been ascertained that about a dozen field-pieces were put in battery and a new intrenchment thrown up while awaiting his arrival.

The troops reached the outer fortifications early on Tuesday morning, and, as the spires and houses of the city came in view, cheer upon cheer went up from our men. Riding rapidly toward the city, the outer line of works was entered. The rebels therein surrendered, threw down their arms, many of them surrendering and others taking to their heels.

A fight then ensued for the next line, but the batteries were too much for them, and so, with his battery, General Kilpatrick opened upon them and the city.

There is no doubt that the men would have dashed upon and over any thing that stood in their way, so enthusiastic had they become, but General Kilpatrick acted the wiser part, and as the shrill whistle of the locomotive told of the bringing up of reinforcements from Pickett's brigade, at Bottom's Bridge and vicinity, he reluctantly gave the order to move toward Mechanicsville.

That this was difficult to do, soon became apparent. On every road the enemy's pickets confronted them, and a series of manoeuvres took place, in which the enemy were found to be on the alert at every point. Night coming on, Kilpatrick, with his accustomed audacity, halted and made preparations to camp. He had chosen a place, however, too near a rebel camp, and of this fact he was reminded by being shelled out of his position. So the command groped its way on in the darkness and gloom, fighting when pressed too hard, and with the tell-tale whistle of the locomotive now warning them that troops were being hurried back to Bottom's Bridge in the hope of cutting off their retreat.

On Monday, General Butler received orders to send out a force to meet General Kilpatrick and assist him if necessary. This movement was part of General Kilpatrick's plan as proposed. Had he known of or even expected a force at New-Kent Court-House or at Bottom's Bridge, he would not have then turned away from Richmond, but would have treated General Butler's forces to a fight for the same prize.

Two thousand infantry under Colonel Dunkin, Fourth United States colored regiment, eight hundred cavalry under Colonel Spears, Eleventh Pennsylvania cavalry, and Belger's First Rhode Island battery, the whole under command of Colonel West, were ordered to New-Kent Court-House, there to be governed by circumstances as to further movements. The infantry colored troops left on Monday afternoon, and reached New-Kent Court-House about noon the next day, having made an extraordinary night march through rain and mud.

The cavalry left Williamsburgh Monday night and arrived Tuesday morning. About eight o'clock Tuesday afternoon, Colonel Spears took a portion of his cavalry force and proceeded to Tunstall Station, where he destroyed a new steam saw-mill and its machinery, burned a freight-car, and twenty thousand feet of lumber.

On Tuesday night, a portion of Kilpatrick's force was discovered, but not knowing whether they were rebels or not, preparations were made to give them a warm reception. On Wednesday morning, the question was solved, and as the two

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Kilpatrick (9)
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