From the Richmond
And How It Led to an Investigation.
To the Editor of the Dispatch:
A great deal has been said in your paper concerning General
Dahlgren and his artificial leg. I thought it would not be out of place to give
a few personal recollections. I was a member of the Nineteenth Heavy Artillery,
Richmond Defences, commanded by Major Carey, and the regiment by Colonel
Atkinson. During the winter of 1863-1864 we were camped at “Battery
5,” and guarded the Libby prison, when the prisoners taken at the time
Dahlgren was killed were brought in. They were not put in with the other
prisoners, but were assigned to a cell to themselves. The body of Dahlgren was
brought up on the “
railroad” and lay in the depot of that road for several days. He had a leg
off, but I don not remember seeing the artificial leg anywhere. A detail was
made from our battalion to bury the body. Colonel Atkinson was in charge of the
detail. Two of this detail are still living in
county. They helped to dig the grave and shovel the dirt on the coffin.
Dahlgren was buried in
Cemetery. The grave was leveled down so that no one could tell where it was. About
the 1st of April, 1864
, I was put in charge of ten men and sent down five or six miles below
to picket a road. We had to stay one week before we were relieved. In this
squad was one of the detail who had buried the “Gen.” as he was then called,
and his name is C. R. Camden. He is still living. One day during our stay on
that road I sent him to our camp at “
5,” on an errand. When he returned in the evening he reported to me that he
came through Oakwood on his way back, that the grave of Dahlgren was open and
the coffin had been removed. “Well,” I replied to him, “you may look out
to be court-martialed pretty soon.” And sure enough he was. An investigation
was had, but nothing could be proved against any of the detail. It was a great
mystery at the time. Nobody could tell who removed the remains, or how the grave
was known to any one, but those who had buried Dahlgren.
Inquiry was made of all persons then living in sight of the
cemetery. One family remembered distinctly, they said, that several men and a
one-horse wagon drove up there in the broad day time, opened the grave and
carried off the coffin. How Miss Van Lew knew where the grave was is still a
mystery. As Dahlgren was buried in secret and the grave leveled down in such a
manner, that no one except some one who was present at the time of burial could
have found it.
AN OLD CONFEDERATE SOLDIER.
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