Colonel Ulric Dahlgren


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 26, 1864

Welcome to our online archive of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. These newspapers allow in depth study of the important events of the war, and yield insight not available through the study of modern resources alone.

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Ulric Dahlgren

Salmon Chase Will Not Run for President

Sherman Expedition

General Sherman's Expedition

Mobile Defenses

Mobile Defenses

Soldier's Voting


Ulric Dahlgren Death

Grant and Lincoln

General Grant and Abraham Lincoln


Mobile Alabama

Custer's Raid

Custer's Raid on the Rapidan



VOL. VIII.—No. 378.]




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the Year 1864. by Harper & Brothers, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.


COLONEL ULRIC DAHLGREN, of whose death we give an illustration on page 196, was killed near Richmond, Virginia, during the recent raid of KILPATRICK. Colonel DAHLGREN, with a body of 100 men, having been sent on detached service, was entrapped and surrounded at night by the rebels, who posted their forces in ambush, and while attempting to cut his way out was shot at the head of his column by persons lying in wait. The Richmond Whig of the 8th inst. says that after DAHLGREN was fired upon a general volley was poured into the Federal ranks, causing a considerable panic, which was heightened by the intense darkness. His body was subsequently carried by the rebels into Richmond, and after having been exposed to public view for some hours, was buried in a common pine coffin in some place unknown to any but the rebel authorities. The rebels pretend to have found papers on Colonel DAHLGREN'S body, directing the massacre of DAVIS and all the officials in Richmond ; but it is denied by Federal officers that any such orders were ever issued or suggested. His address to his officers and men, upon starting on his expedition, certainly did not disclose any such blood-thirsty purpose. He enjoined upon them to "keep well together, and obey orders strictly ;" to allow "no thought of personal gain to lead them off." "We will have a desperate fight," he added, as if with the voice of prophecy, "but stand up to it when it

does come, and all will be well."

Moreover, a correspondent of the Times, who accompanied Colonel DAHLGREN, and saw his memoranda on the day he started, says positively that they "contained no such words as the rebels pretend to have found in them."

Colonel DAHLGREN had been engaged in the military service from the outset of the war, and, though only twenty-two years of age, had earned distinguished honors by his gallantry and courage on several fields. He was first assigned to duty in May, 1862, under General FREMONT, but subsequently he was with General SIGEL in West Virginia. Afterward he was placed on General HOOKER'S staff, and passed with that General through his Potomac campaign, participating in all the cavalry engagements which then and afterward occurred. During the pursuit of LEE's forces in the invasion of last summer DAHLGREN was in every successful action, and was finally wounded at Hagerstown, Maryland, and lost a leg by amputation. For his services in this campaign he was made a Colonel by the President. He had not fully recovered from his wound when the KILPATRICK expedition was proposed. He asked and obtained leave to accompany it, being assigned to a separate command. His failure to accomplish the work apportioned to him is said to have been due to the treachery of a guide, who led him into danger and to death. His father. Admiral DAHLGREN, has attempted to obtain the body from Richmond, but has failed; but it matters not where such as he may be buried. A grateful people will shrine his memory in their hearts, and keep green forever the brave boy's name !

It is mentioned as an illustration of Colonel DAHLGREN'S earnest patriotism, that when the war broke out he was traveling in the Southwest, where great inducements were offered him to enter the rebel service, but, fired with indignation, he at once made his way to Washington and applied for a place in the Army. His sublime daring on every field to which he was called after that time justified fully the sanction which the Government gave him in its first appointment to an honorable position. His temper and character as a soldier remarkably resembled that of the lamented WINTHROP, and his career affords another illustration, beautiful and significant, of that sturdy and courageous manhood which these troublous latter days are maturing as the future hope of the Republic.


WE give on page 197 an illustration of the formal presentation of the commission of LIEUTENANT-GENERAL to Major-General GRANT, by President LINCOLN, on the 9th instant. The presentation ceremony took place in the Cabinet Chamber, in the presence of the entire Cabinet and a number of high military officers. The President, in presenting the commission, remarked, " With this high honor devolves upon you also a corresponding responsibility. As the country herein trusts you, so under God, it will sustain you." General GRANT, in replying, said he felt the full weight of the responsibilities now devolving upon him, and added that if they are met he felt it will be due to our noble armies, and above all to the favor of that Providence which is over both nations and men.


WE present our readers this week, in a double page sketch by Mr. A. R. WAUD, several interesting scenes connected with General CUSTER's late movement against the rebels. This movement not only accomplished a successful diversion in favor of the commands directly engaged in KILPATRICK'S raid, but served also the equally important purposes of a reconnaissance. " Leaving Madison Court

House, a handsome town at the foot of the Blue Ridge," says our artist, who was the only civilian accompanying the expedition, "soon after midnight, CUSTER's command rapidly pushed on in the still night through a country alternately open and woodland toward the Rapidan. All went quietly until we reached Wolftown, where the Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry, being in the advance, was fired upon by a rebel force ; but drawing their sabers they dashed on, putting the enemy to flight without loss, and the head of the column soon reached the Rapidan. Having captured a wagon loaded with hams and two negroes, the command forded the river without opposition and pushed on, seizing all the horses on their way and all the male citizens—as a precaution against bushwhacking and to prevent information being given to the enemy.

" As we proceeded we found a tolerably well cultivated and high rail fenced country, the farmers plowing in the fields ; when the horses were worth it they were taken in the name of the United States; and occasionally some of the men would make a descent upon the poultry while their officers were not looking. In one place a very handsome lady, quite young, expostulated loudly with a cavalryman for taking the farm horses. ' My dear Miss,' said the soldier, 'we do not want to take your horses; ours are much better ; and besides it goes against our feelings, but military necessity requires this step, and we are merely the agents of unrelenting destiny.' In spite of her concern the

pretty creature laughed at such eloquence from a rough cavalryman.

"At a turn of the road we met a couple of children on a horse ; that horse the men did not take: they looked too innocent to be molested. In the town of Stannardsville the people came out to see the procession, as if it were a show got up for their amusement. The men were exceedingly disgusted when they found they had to accompany the column as temporary prisoners. The female relatives of one person hung about him with outcries and shrieks, as if they imagined he would be led at once to execution. In the afternoon we reached and crossed the Rivanna River, and found the enemy in force near Charlottesville. A squadron of the Fifth regulars, under Captain ASH, scouting on our left, came so suddenly upon an artillery camp that the gunners had barely time to run off the guns by hand. Before they had recovered their surprise the camp was in flames, the caissons blown up, harness, forges, and battery-wagons destroyed, and our handful of dare-devils off again. At this time train after train came up from Gordonsville with troops, and the General recalled his column, which was at this time
being shelled in a random way by the enemy's artillery, answered by our two little guns, which checked an effort to turn our left. Recrossing the river, the pioneers soon put the bridge in flames, and destroyed a large mill full of Government corn and meal, the enemy's infantry keeping up a wicked but harmless skirmish-fire the while. Returning, the troops were halted

about four miles from the river to feed and rest. The night was rainy, and all had to lie upon the ground and get wet through. It was difficult to get fires to burn, and the rain began to freeze upon the limbs of the trees, so that by morning every thing appeared to be cased in crystal; and when the enemy's forces got in our way, to contest the return of the troops, the cannon-shot made a wonderful crashing among the frost-bound limbs of the forest. After two or three pretty little skirmishes, in which our troops invariably had the advantage, General CUSTER inveigled them down a wrong road, and then, having started them upon a false scent, quietly recrossed the Rapidan, without the loss of a man, and with but few wounded, bringing with him a large number of horses and refugees —colored people—and some thirty prisoners, soldiers; the civilians being all allowed to return to their homes when it was no longer possible for them to do us damage. Like lost children the command was welcomed back into the lines by the forces of General SEDGWICK who was not without anxiety that we should be all used up when he heard the distant guns in the morning."

The account of CUSTER'S movement given above by our artist represents faithfully the incidents that usually enliven a cavalry expedition within the enemy's lines. The most striking of these incidents he has related with the pencil. Thus he has given us a portrait of Captain ASH, who surprised JEB STUART's camp. In this connection he has presented us a scene representing the destruction of the rebel caissons by Captain ASH's command. This was in the vicinity of Charlottesville, the point which our forces had reached when they were compelled, by the superior numbers of the enemy, to retrace their steps toward the Rapidan. The rear-guard, as General CUSTER'S command was leaving Charlottesville, has also received its share of attention from Mr. WAUD. He has also sketched for our readers the burning of the mill at Stannardsville, which contained a great amount of grain belonging to the Confederacy ; also the burning of the bridge across the Rivanna, one of the tributaries of the James. One of the skirmishes in which our troops were engaged with STUART'S forces in the retreat has also been portrayed. Not the least pleasant of these tableaux is that one which represents the negroes leaving their plows in the field to join our troops in the movement northward.


Colonel Dahlgren

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