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D. H. Hill, Jr., Confederate Military History, a library of Confederate States Military History: Volume 4, North Carolina (ed. Clement Anselm Evans) 4 0 Browse Search
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ent to take 3,000 cavalrymen and six pieces of artillery and make a dash upon Richmond, then but slightly guarded. He was to be accompanied by Col. Ulric Dahlgren, and the avowed object of the movement was to liberate the Federal prisoners at Belle island, and do such other damage as time and means would allow. General Kilpatrick, acting upon his orders, moved so rapidly and unexpectedly that on the 1st of March he reached the immediate neighborhood of Richmond without his movement being disde. At the flash of the signal gun, Blair's men rushed forward, firing and shouting, and in the confusion that followed, Cheek charged with his mounted men. The result was that the brigade was badly broken and driven on the main body. General Hampton reports: Kilpatrick immediately moved his division off at a gallop, leaving one of his wagons with horses hitched to it and one caisson full of ammunition. This bold deed, as seen, probably saved the liberation of the prisoners at Belle island.