Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 34.djvu/190

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182 Southern Historical Society Papers.

willing to sacrifice his life and the lives of his men to accomplish the purpose of his expedition.

At ii 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 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 ist. 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 writer to record not a full history in connec- tion with the Dahlgren raid, but only a few facts which came under his immediate observation, and with which he was more or less intimately associated.

At the time of the Dahlgren raid the writer of this article was a member of Company H, Qth Virginia Cavalry, a company of seasoned veterans men who had passed through battles until they gloried in the smell of smoke. Nearly every man in the. company was a crack shot, and some were expert marksmen. Lieutenant Pollard, who at this time had charge of the company, was one of the bravest and truest of men. As a soldier, I think he was unex- celled. He was a man who could be relied upon to do the right thing at the right time a Virginia gentleman of gravity and of character.

Early in December, 1863, our Division, under Fitz Lee, in order to be more accessible to supplies, camped near Charlottesville. Information reached General Stuart that General Averill, with a large force, had started on a raid in Northwestern Virginia. Stuart ordered Fitz Lee to break camp at once and proceed against him.