KILPATRICK'S AND DAHLGREN'S RAID TO RICHMOND
CAMP OF THE 18TH PENNSYLVANIA CAVALRY, KILPATRICK'S DIVISION.
and with sharp skirmishing, Captain Mitchell broke his way through the enemy, and joined Kilpatrick the next day, the 2d, at Tunstall's Station, near White House. Meanwhile Dahlgren had crossed the Pamunkey at Hanovertown and the Mattapony at Aylett's ; but late on Wednesday night, March 2d, he fell into an ambush near Walkerton, formed by Captain Fox with home guards of King and Queen County, furloughed men, and Magruder's squadron, and by Lieutenant Pollard with a company of the 9th Virginia. Dahlgren, at the head of his men, fell dead, pierced with a bullet.
The greater part of his command was captured.
On the second morning after Colonel Dahlgren's death, Lieutenant Pollard carried to General Fitzhugh Lee, in Richmond, some papers which he said had been taken from Dahlgren's body, together with the artificial leg which the young officer wore in place of a limb amputated a short time before.
The documents were published in the Richmond newspapers, and afterward in the newspapers at the North. One of them, signed Ulric Dahlgren, purporting to be an address to his men, contained this passage : " We hope to release the prisoners from Belle Isle first, and having seen them fairly started, we will cross the James River into Richmond, destroying the bridges after us, and exhorting the released prisoners to destroy and burn the hateful city; and do not allow the rebel leader, Davis, and his traitorous crew to escape. "The second document, a paper of instructions not signed, declared that" once in the city it must be destroyed, and Jeff Davis and cabinet killed.
Pioneers will go along with combustible material. "On observing these publications, General Meade at once, on the 14th of March, directed an inquiry to be made into their authenticity. On the 16th, ,General Kilpatrick having carefully examined officers and men who accompanied Colonel Dahlgren, and having received a written account from Captain Mitchell, reported to General Meade that the unanimous testimony was that Colonel Dahlgren "published no address whatever to his command, nor did he give any instructions"; but he added that Colonel Dahlgren had submitted to him an address which he had accordingly indorsed in red ink "approved" over his official signature.
This address, he said, conformed to the one published in the Richmond newspapers, "save so far as it speaks of 'exhorting the prisoners to destroy and burn the hateful city and kill the traitor Davis and his cabinet.' All this is false, and published only as an excuse for the barbarous treatment of the remaieral R. E. Lee sent to General Meade photographic copies of the two documents, with a letter making the extracts already quoted with their context, and requesting to know whether these alleged designs and instructions of Colonel Dahlgren were authorized by the United States Government, or by his superior officer, or were now approved by them.
This letter being referred to General Kilpatrick, he replied substantially as in his previous report, adding, however, that the photographic papers "do not contain the indorsement referred to as having been placed by me on Colonel Dahlgren's papers. Colonel Dahlgren received no orders from me to pillage, burn, or kill, nor were any such instructions given me by my superiors." This letter was inclosed by General Meade to General Lee with the statement that "neither the United States Government, myself, nor General Kilpatrick authorized, sanctioned, or approved the burning of the city of Richmond and the killing of Mr. Davis and his cabinet, nor any other act not required by military necessity and in accordance with the usages of war."