From the Richmond Examiner, 3/5/1864
AFFAIR WITH THE ENEMY AROUND RICHMOND--CAPTURE OF IMPORTANT PAPERS AND MEMORANDA
OF THE ENEMY, ETC.
The first rumor of the raiders afloat yesterday was that General Stuart,
coming down the Louisa mountain road, had intercepted their retreat, captured
1,200 prisoners, and released all the negroes in their hands. This report lacked
confirmation, but it was soon followed by a well-authenticated report of a
success quite equal in interest, if not in magnitude, to that ascribed to
AFFAIR IN KING AND QUEEN COUNTY--COLONEL DAHLGREN KILLED.
News was brought in during the morning of the brilliant affair of a small
body of Confederate cavalry under the command of Lieutenant Pollard, who had
attacked a body of Yankee cavalry under the command of Colonel Dahlgren, killing
their commander, taking 90 prisoners and 35 negroes and 150 horses. The fight
occurred at Walkerton on Wednesday night about 11 o'clock. The body of cavalry
under Dahlgren's command numbered some 300 or 400, being part of the force which
had appeared on the Westham plank road. They had crossed the Mattapony at
Aylett's. The wretch who commanded them was the son of Commodore Dahlgren, of
ordnance notoriety. It would have been well if the body of the land pirate had
been gibbeted in chains on the spot where he fell. Lieutenant Pollard commands
Company H, of the Ninth Virginia Cavalry. He was aided by some home guards and a
small detachment from Lieutenant-Colonel Robins' command.
From the courier who came in yesterday we have some interesting
particulars of Lieutenant Pollard's affair with the enemy. It appears that with
his company of cavalry he followed the enemy across the Mattapony during the
whole of Wednesday, harassing his rear. At the forks of the road the enemy took
that leading to Walkerton, while Lieutenant Pollard, directing a few of his men
to follow the enemy on that route and make a pretense of pursuit, rapidly
withdrew the larger portion of his force to the other road. He succeeded in
making a circuit of the enemy, and about 11 o'clock at night appeared on their
front, having been joined by some home guards and a few of Robins' command. The
Yankees attempted to charge through our lines, the charge being headed by
Dahlgren himself. He was shot dead before his column came in contact with our
lines. A fight ensued, with the results referred to, to which we may add the
fortunate circumstance that not a man of our command was killed. Several Yankees
were killed, and the force not captured was dispersed in a wild flight, aided by
the cover of the woods and the night.
DISCLOSURE OF THE ENEMY'S PLANS--RICHMOND TO BE DESTROYED--THE PRESIDENT AND HIS
CABINET TO BE KILLED, ETC.
The following papers and memoranda were found on Dahlgren's person, and
contain the indisputable evidence of the diabolical designs of the enemy.
The following address to the officers and men of the command was written
on a sheet of paper having in printed letters on the upper corner,
"Headquarters Third Division, Cavalry Corps, --------, 1864:"
OFFICERS AND MEN:
You have been selected from brigades and regiments as a picked command to
attempt a desperate undertaking--an undertaking which, if successful, will write
your names on the hearts of your countrymen in letters that can never be erased,
and which will cause the prayers of our fellow-soldiers now confined in
loathsome prisons to follow you and yours wherever you may go. We hope to
release the prisoners from Belle Island 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 prisoners must render great assistance, as you cannot leave your ranks too
far or become too much scattered, or you will be lost. Do not allow any personal
gain to lead you off, which would only bring you to an ignominious death at the
hands of citizens. Keep well together and obey orders strictly and all will be
well; but on no account scatter too far, for in union there is strength. With
strict obedience to orders and fearlessness in the execution you will be sure to
succeed. We will join the main force on the other side of the city, or perhaps
meet them inside. Many of you may fall; but if there is any man here not willing
to sacrifice his life in such a great and glorious undertaking, or who does not
feel capable of meeting the enemy in such a desperate fight as will follow, let
him step out, and he may go hence to the arms of his sweetheart and read of the
braves who swept through the city of Richmond. We want no man who cannot feel
sure of success in such a holy cause. We will have a desperate fight, but stand
up to it when it does come, and all will be well. Ask the blessing of the
Almighty, and do not fear the enemy.
ORDERS AND INSTRUCTIONS.
The following special orders were written on a similar sheet of paper and
on detached slips, the whole disclosing the diabolical plans of the leaders of
Guides.--Pioneers (with oakum, turpentine, and torpedoes), signal officer,
quartermaster, commissary. Scouts and pickets. Men in rebel uniform. These will
remain on the north bank and move down with the force on the south bank, not
getting ahead of them, and if the communication can be kept up without giving an
alarm it must be done; but everything depends upon a surprise, and no one must
be allowed to pass ahead of the column. Information must be gathered in regard
to the crossings of the river, so that should we be repulsed on the south side
we will know where to recross at the nearest point. All mills must be burned and
the canal destroyed, and also everything which can be used by the rebels must be
destroyed, including the boats on the river. Should a ferry-boat be seized and
can be worked, have it moved down. Keep the force on the south side posted of
any important movement of the enemy, and in case of danger some of the scouts
must swim the river and bring us information. As we approach the city the party
must take great care that they do not get ahead of the other party on the south
side, and must conceal themselves and watch our movements. We will try and
secure the bridge to the city, 1 mile below Belle Isle, and release the
prisoners at the same time. If we do not succeed they must then dash down, and
we will try and carry the bridge from each side. When necessary, the men must be
filed through the woods and along the river bank. The bridges once secured, and
the prisoners loose and over the river, the bridges will be secured and the city
destroyed. The men must keep together and well in hand, and once in the city it
must be destroyed and Jeff. Davis and cabinet killed. Pioneers will go along
with combustible material. The officer must use his discretion about the time of
assisting us. Horses and cattle which we do not need immediately must be shot
rather than left. Everything on the canal and elsewhere of service to the rebels
must be destroyed. As General Custer may follow me, be careful not to give a
false alarm. [ed. note: the following
paragraphs do not appear in the photographic copies that General Lee sent to
The signal officer must be prepared to communicate at night by rockets,
and in other things pertaining to his department.
The quartermasters and commissaries must be on the lookout for their
departments, and see that there are no delays on their account.
The engineer officer will follow to survey the road as we pass over it,
The pioneers must be prepared to construct a bridge or destroy one. They
must have plenty of oakum and turpentine for burning, which will be rolled in
soaked balls and given to the men to burn when we get in the city. Torpedoes
will only be used by the pioneers for destroying the main bridges, &c. They
must be prepared to destroy railroads. Men will branch off to the right with a
few pioneers and destroy the bridges and railroads south of Richmond, and then
join us at the city. They must be well prepared with torpedoes, &c. The line
of Falling Creek is probably the best to work along, or as they approach the
city Goode's Creek, so that no re-enforcements can come up on any cars. No one
must be allowed to pass ahead for fear of communicating news. Rejoin the command
with all haste, and
if cut off cross the river above
Richmond and rejoin us. Men will stop at Bellona Arsenal and totally destroy it,
and anything else but hospitals: then follow on and rejoin the command at
Richmond with all haste, and if cut off cross the river and rejoin us. As
General Custer may follow me, be careful not to give a false alarm.
OF THE ROUTE AND WORK.
The following is an exact copy of a paper written in lead-pencil, which
appears to have been a private memorandum of the programme which Dahlgren had
made to enable him to keep his work clearly in mind:
Saturday--Leave camp at dark (6 p.m.). Cross Ely's Ford at 10 p.m.
Twenty miles--Cross North Anna at 4 a.m. Sunday. Feed and water one hour.
Three miles--Frederick Hall Station 6 a.m. Destroy arts 8 a.m.
Twenty miles--Near James River 2 p.m. Sunday. Feed and water one hour and
Thirty miles to Richmond--March toward Kilpatrick for one hour, and then
as soon as dark cross the river, reaching Richmond early in the morning
One squadron remains on north side and one squadron to cut the railroad
bridge at Falling Creek, and join at Richmond; 83 miles.
General Kilpatrick--Cross at 1 a.m. Sunday; 10 miles.
Pass river 5 a.m. Resistance.
Chilesburg--Fourteen miles; 8 a.m.
Resistance at North Anna; 3 miles.
Railroad bridges at South Anna; 26 miles; 2 p.m. Destroy bridges, pass the
South Anna, and feed until after dark; then signal each other. After dark move
down to Richmond and be in front of the city at daybreak.
Return--In Richmond during the day. Feed and water men outside.
Be over the Pamunkey at daybreak. Feed and water and then cross the
Rappahannock at night (Tuesday night), when they must be on the lookout.
Spies should be sent on Friday morning early, and be ready to cut.
The following paper was inclosed in an envelope directed to Col, U.
Dahlgren, etc., at General Kilpatrick's headquarters, and marked
"Confidential." The letter is not dated:
DEAR COLONEL: At the last moment I have found the man you want; well
acquainted with the James River from Richmond up. I send him to you mounted on
my own private horse. You will have to furnish him a horse. Question him five
minutes, and you will find him the very man you want.
and truly, yours,
On the margin of this letter is written:
He crossed at Rapidan last night, and has late information.
OF THEIR NEGRO GUIDE BY THE RAIDERS.
There now remains no doubt of the barbarous atrocity of the Yankee raiders
in the murder of an inoffensive negro who was captured near the Rapidan. The
victim of their brutal wrath was a boy named Martin, the property of Mr. David
Meems, of Goochland. It appears that the negro was impressed as a pilot, and had
informed the Yankees that they could cross the river at Jude's Ferry, about 2
miles from Dover Mills. The river was, however, fuller than usual, although it
is very probable that the negro advised the raiders according to the best of his
information. For no other offense than the imaginary one of misleading the
enemy, the negro was hung to a tree, where his dead body was found a few hours
after life was extinct.
It is now quite certain that the Yankees intended to cross the river so as
to attack the city from the south side and disconcert our defense by the various
directions of their attack. They were, however, disappointed in their attempts
to cross the river, and left no other recourse than to cut their way through to
Kilpatrick. The wagon train which accompanied them was loaded with arms and
equipments, and it is conjectured that these were provided for the prisoners,
whose release from Belle Isle was undoubtedly one object of the excursion. The
only damage done to the canal was the destruction of the wooden part of the
aqueduct at Dover Mills. A few hundred dollars will repair it.
ENEMY AT TUNSTALL'S.
We learn that the Yankees destroyed Pearson's saw-mill, near Tunstall's
Station. They plundered the neighboring country of all the grain and meat they
could lay their hands on. They did no damage to the railroad.
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