Sunday, April 27, 2014

March 3, 1864 (Thursday): Kilpatrick Raid Brought To A Halt

King and Queen Court House (

Major General A. PLEASONTON,
Commanding Cavalry Corps:
    I have reached General Butler's lines with my command in good order. I have failed to accomplish the great object of the expedition, but have destroyed the enemy's communications at various points on the Virginia Central Railroad; also the canal and mills along the James River, and much other valuable property. Drove the enemy into and through his fortifications to the suburbs of Richmond; made several unsuccessful efforts to return to the Army of the Potomac. I have lost less than 150 men. The entire command is in good order, and needs but a few days' rest. I respectfully ask for instructions.

     Brigadier-General, Commanding Expedition.

In view of the failure of General Kilpatrick to return to this command by land, I respectfully urge that transportation be sent immediately from Alexandria to transport it by water, as his command is composed of picket troops from all the divisions of the corps, and the organization and effectiveness of the remaining divisions is seriously impaired by the absence of so large a number.
      Very respectfully,

     Major-General, Commanding.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 33, Part 1, Page 182.

Having advanced without sight of the spires of Richmond, Kilpatrick's raid could not be counted as a failure, but then again it did not succeed in its objectives.  Kilpatrick was unaware at this time that Dahlgren had fallen into an ambush with about 80 of his men at King and Queen Court House and had been killed in combat.  About the raid much more would be said and argued, even many years into the future, as Dahlgren was found to carry an address which called for his men to kill Davis and his cabinet. 

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