Saturday, May 3, 2014

March 8, 1864 (Tuesday): Dahgren Reported Killed

Dahlgren's Father Rear Admiral John Dahlgren

YORKTOWN, VA., March 8, 1864.
    GENERAL: Twelve men of Dahlgren's party have come in. They state that Colonels Dahlgren and Cooke, with about 80 men and a large number of African-Americans, were ambushed at King and Queen Court-House on Thursday evening,11 p. m. * The colonel was killed and 7 men wounded. Colonel [Major] Cooke and the remainder were afterward surrounded by the citizens and soldiers on furlough. Colonel [Major] Cooke ordered his men to scatter and make for the river. The negroes were captured and confined in the jail at the court-house. Colonel Dahlgren's servant has also come in. He reports seeing the colonels' body on the roadside stripped of his clothing and horribly mutilated. I sent a large force two days since to King and Queen Court-House. It has not returned.

     Brigadier-General, &c.
    Major-General PLEASONTON,
    Commanding Cavalry Corps.

*Wednesday, March 2. 

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 33, Part 1, Page 183.

Dahlgren was originally buried in Oakwood Cemetary in Richmond, where Union dead from the hospitals in the city were buried.  But his body was disinterred by Union sympathizers and remained under an apple tree, in a spot made known to Dahlgren's family, until after the war.

Unable to reach their objective, Dahlgren's party was ambushed at King and Queen Court House.  Dahlgren had ordered the execution of an African-American from the neighborhood who, because of high water, had been unable to help him find a ford.  This was the end of the Dahlgren Raid, one of the more controversial episodes of the war.

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