Friday, April 25, 2014

February 28, 1864 (Sunday): The Raid Commences

General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick

February 28, 1864.
Major-General WARREN,
Commanding Second Corps:
    The major-general commanding directs me to inform you that General Kilpatrick will move to-night, cross the Rapidan at the lower fords, and turning the enemy's right flank operate in his rear. He will be absent several days. He will withdraw all the supports and reserves of his picket-line, but will leave his pickets.
     The inclosed telegram,* just received, showing a brigade of enemy's cavalry at Morton's Ford, will require more than usual vigilance on the part of your infantry brigade near there.

     Major-General, Chief of Staff.

*Not found. 

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 33, Part 1, Page 608-609.

Kilpatrick's raid was underway.  Hugh Judson Kilpatrick was an 1861 graduate of West Point, 17th of 45.  He was wounded at the early battle of Big Bethel and had fought in practically every major engagement the Union cavalry had been involved with in the east.  Eventually he would be sent west at the request of Sherman, who is quoted as saying, "I know Kilpatrick is a hell of a d***ed fool, but I want just that sort of man to command my cavalry on this expedition."  The raid he was about to begin with Dahlgren would remain his claim to fame.  His nickname, "Kill Cavalry" was a testament to his wreckless, and often ill considered conduct in action.  He no doubt inspired an aggression in his men, but was likely too young for the command he held and unsuited for the responsibilities he carried.

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