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at public feeling throughout the North, bitter and hostile all the time, had been unduly excited under the pressure of a false and misstated condition of the Confederate prisons. It was known to the Confederate government and the citizens of Richmond, that an expedition might at any time be undertaken with the avowed purpose of liberating the Northern prisoners in Richmond and turning them loose in the streets of the city to an orgy and carnival of crime. Indeed, it had been known that in January of 1864, an expedition had been sent out from Fortress Monroe to accomplish this purpose. Another had been sent from the Army of the Potomac, but both had, in some way, miscarried. Reports, some false, some only too true, concerning advancing lines of the enemy, were read in the Confederate newspapers every day. Tales of wholesale destruction and military carnage were the usual reports of the newspapers. The Richmond people were expectant to hear the details any hour of some harrowing wh
xpectant to hear the details any hour of some harrowing wholesale tragedy; and, fearful of the worst of all evils, the women and the helpless of the city waited complacent in their bitterness, knowing not what a day might bring forth. Late in February, it was learned that the Federal General Custer, with 1500 horse, had crossed the Rapidan on a feint to the west of the Confederate Army, while Kilpatrick, starting a day later, moved down on its opposite flank, with the ostensible purpose of e about 60 miles northeast of Richmond, and Company H had been ordered to establish a line of pickets across King William County, from the Mattapony to the Pamunkey River. This had been carefully, yet expeditiously done, and our company late in February was quartered in King William County Courthouse, about thirty-five miles northeast of Richmond. The life of a soldier is a life of anxiety and of uncertainty. One must be prepared for any surprise at any time. But there are some surprises
February 26th (search for this): chapter 1.16
purpose of entering Richmond to liberate the prisoners there. For some time some of the more adventurous of the Northern officers had been petitioning for leave to undertake this perilous feat. Kilpatrick, a daring brigadier general of the cavalry, had been one who asked for such a privilege. He had, no doubt, been more or less incited to this by Ulric Dahlgren, a young Colonel, who was rising to considerable prominence in the Army of the Potomac. So Major-General Pleasanton, on the 26th of February, sent confidential orders to Kilpatrick, directing him to increase his command to 4000 picked men, to take with him Colonel Ulric Dahlgren and his regiment, and to proceed by such routes and to make such disposition as from time to time he might find necessary for the accomplishment of the object of the expedition. Thus was formed one of the most daring, and in some respects, one of the most hazardous, attempts to take the Confederate capital and to liberate the Northern prisoners of w
February 28th (search for this): chapter 1.16
dition. Thus was formed one of the most daring, and in some respects, one of the most hazardous, attempts to take the Confederate capital and to liberate the Northern prisoners of war—numbering eight to ten thousand. So on Sunday evening, February 28th, Kilpatrick left his camp at Stevensburg, near Culpeper Courthouse, in Northern Virginia, having 3,582 men, Colonel Ulric Dalgren, with 460 picked and excellently mounted cavalrymen, leading the advance. The presence of Dahlgren, with his rey Stanton. Now, in the spring of 1864, having recovered from his loss of limb, he was again at the front, willing to sacrifice his life and the lives of his men to accomplish the purpose of his expedition. At 11 o'clock on the evening of February 28th, Kilpatrick and Dahlgren reached Ely's Ford on the Rapidan River, and there captured two of our officers and fourteen men. At this point Kilpatrick divided his forces, sending Dahlgren with 500 men to hasten by one route to Richmond, while he
February 29th (search for this): chapter 1.16
d day of March, it was announced to us that the enemy were attacking the city of Richmond. Of course we did not know what it all meant then, but we afterwards learned all the many events of the daring Dahlgren raid, some of those in the incipiency of which I have given above. It seemed that the original plans of Kilpatrick and Dahlgren had miscarried. Dahlgren had proceeded from Ely's Ford as he had been ordered, to Spotsylvania Courthouse, which he had reached at early dawn on the 29th of February; he had marched thence to Frederick's Hall, in Louisa County, where he surprised and captured some artillerymen, had crossed the South Anna River and made a hurried march directly toward James River, which he hoped to cross about twenty miles west of Richmond. Before reaching the river, he had engaged a negro guide to direct him to a place where the river could be forded or swum by horses. The negro guide conducted Dahlgren to the river, but it was found that there was no possibilit
ng Dahlgren with 500 men to hasten by one route to Richmond, while he took another. The plan was to send Dahlgren by way of Spotsylvania Courthouse to Frederick's Hall on the Virginia Central, now the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, and thence immediately south to a point above Goochland Courthouse on the James River; here he was to cross the river, move down the opposite bank, about twenty miles, and, if possible, seize the main bridge that led to the city at 10 o'clock on Tuesday morning, March 1st. Kilpatrick himself was to proceed with about 3000 men by way of Spotsylvania Courthouse, thence southeastward to Richmond, the defences of which he was to attack west and northwest of the Brook turnpike on Tuesday morning, while Dahlgren attacked it from the south. This undertaking on the part of Kilpatrick and Dahlgren is one of the most interesting events of the Civil War, and it has never been adequately treated by either Southern or Northern historians. It is the purpose of the w
d. The life of a soldier is a life of anxiety and of uncertainty. One must be prepared for any surprise at any time. But there are some surprises which astonish even a soldier. Such a surprise was in store for our company, when, on the 2nd day of March, it was announced to us that the enemy were attacking the city of Richmond. Of course we did not know what it all meant then, but we afterwards learned all the many events of the daring Dahlgren raid, some of those in the incipiency of whicnly found himself. His intention was to go northeastward, cross the Pamunkey and the Mattapony, and pass thence southeastward along the peninsula to Gloucester Point, whence he could escape in Federal gunboats. It was on the morning of the 2nd of March that our company got information that the enemy were crossing the Pamunkey at Aylett's, about six miles below Hanover Courthouse. Kilpatrick had retired from his attack and had passed down the peninsula to White House. Our baggage wagons wer
ren the books and papers which contained his address and orders which excited such intense indignation among the Confederate people. The papers were given by Mr. Hallaback to Captain Pollard, and they passed through him and Col. Beale to the War Office in Richmond. The day following General Fitzhugh Lee gave orders to Captain Pollard to disinter the body of Dahlgren, which had been buried, and bring it to Richmond for the purpose of identification. The body was taken to Richmond on the 6th of March by Lieut. Pollard's Company, was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, and was afterwards taken up and carried to Miss E. H. Van Lew's house on Church Hill. From her house the body of Colonel Dahlgren was first carried to Chelsea Hill, where it remained several days, after which the original resurrectionists (two white men—one of them being the late erratic Martin Meredith Lipscomb, whose proclaimed motto was to strike high even if you lose your hatchet—and a negro), placed the body on a wagon cov
es of the enemy, were read in the Confederate newspapers every day. Tales of wholesale destruction and military carnage were the usual reports of the newspapers. The Richmond people were expectant to hear the details any hour of some harrowing wholesale tragedy; and, fearful of the worst of all evils, the women and the helpless of the city waited complacent in their bitterness, knowing not what a day might bring forth. Late in February, it was learned that the Federal General Custer, with 1500 horse, had crossed the Rapidan on a feint to the west of the Confederate Army, while Kilpatrick, starting a day later, moved down on its opposite flank, with the ostensible purpose of entering Richmond to liberate the prisoners there. For some time some of the more adventurous of the Northern officers had been petitioning for leave to undertake this perilous feat. Kilpatrick, a daring brigadier general of the cavalry, had been one who asked for such a privilege. He had, no doubt, been mor
April 3rd, 1842 AD (search for this): chapter 1.16
gren, with 460 picked and excellently mounted cavalrymen, leading the advance. The presence of Dahlgren, with his regiment, must have lent inspiration to the daring undertaking, and must have added a kind of an adventurous charm to the entire spirit of this bold and questioning raid. For Dahlgren was no ordinary man. At this time he lacked but a month of being twenty-two years of age, but he was a seasoned veteran, and knew thoroughly the art of warfare. He was born near Philadelphia, April 3, 1842, the second son of Rear-Admiral John Adolph Dahlgren, the noted naval officer, author and scholar. He was educated in Washington, entered the war in 1861 as a captain, and had distinguished himself time after time for bravery in action. In 1862 he fought gallantly at Fredericksburg; and had made a desperate charge at Chancellorsville; at second Bull Run he had gained the admiration of all his fellow-officers, and had lost a leg in a desperate charge at Gettysburg. For his absolute fea
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