virtue on the most iniquitous designs. But here at last the enemy had,
by a document plainer and more significant than any published to the
world from the bureaux of Washington, revealed the stark and deformed
genius of the war.
On the person of Dahlgren there was discovered the following address
to the ofiicers and men of the command, written on a sheet of paper hav-
ing in printed letters on the upper corner, " Headquarters Third Division,
Cavalry Corps, , 1864 : "
" Officers and inen :
" You have been selected from brigades and regiments as a picked command to at-
tempt a desperate undertaking, which, if successful, will write your names on the hearts
of your countrymen in letters that can never be erased, and 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
Btarted, we will cross the James River into Richmond, destroying the bridges after us,
and exhorting the released prisoners to destroy and hum the hateful city, and do not alloii
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 yon
will bo lost.
THE DAHLGREN PAPERS. 603
" 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 Avell, but on no account scatter too far ; for in union there is strength.
"With strict obedience to orders, and fearlessness in tlie execution, you will be sure
"We will join the main force on the other side of the city^or perhaps meet thera
"Many of you may fall ; but if there is any man here not willing to sacrifice lviÂ«
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
" 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
" Ask the blessing of the Almighty, and do not fear the enemy.
" U. DAHLGREN,
" Colonel Commanding,^
It might be supposed that the Eichmond authorities would have at-
tempted some substantial retaliation, in view of these murderous and in-
cendiary disclosures, and would have treated those of Dahlgren's raiders
wlio had been captured as the felons they really were. But President
Davis was weak and melodramatic on the subject of retaliation ; a distinct
victim had never yet been exacted for innumerable murders and massacres
committed by the enemy ; a single act of substantial retaliation had never
been done by the Confederate Administration ; and now the utterly absurd
and puerile notice in Richmond of the Dahlgren raid was to bury the
body of its leader in a concealed grave, and to put several tons of powder
under the Libby Prison to intimidate its inmates. Such stupid melo-
drama is almost incredible in the head of a great government, and merely
gave occasion to the enemy to exclaim about " rebel barbarities," and to
surround with romance a deed of villainy from which the public, without
such appeals to their interest and sympathy, would have turned with aver-
sion. Indeed so far did the misrepresentation and hypocrisy of the North
go on this subject, that the authenticity of the papers found on Dahlgren
was denied, and with that singular disposition of JSTorthern newspapers to
interpret as heroism, and entitle as fame, the worst villainies of the war,
and its most ruthless and comprehensive works of destruction, the name of
Ulric Dahlgren was written as " the young hero of the North," who hÂ»d
been " assassinated " on the path to glory.
The authenticity of " the Dahlgren Papers " â the most important
only of which we have copied above â is probably no longer a question
with the intelligent. But to put it beyond all dispute, we annex here
604 THE LOST CAUSE.
detailed statement of tlie circumstances of the discovery of these papera,
obtained from the living witness under whose eye they first came :
STATEMENT OF EDWARD W. HALBACE IN RELATION TO "TELE
" In the summer of 1863, I, Edward W. Halbach, was living at Stevensville, in King
and Queen County, Virginia. I had ah'eady been exempted from military service on
account of the condition of my health, and was now exempt as a schoolmaster having the
requisite number of pupils. But feeling it my duty to do what I could to encounter the
raids of the enemy, I determined to form a company of my pupils between the ages of
thirteen and seventeen years. My commission and papers prove that the company was
formed, and accepted by the President for " Local Defence." A member of this com-
pany, thirteen years of age at the time, captured the notorious "Dahlgren Papers."
The name of this boy is "William Littlepa^e.
" Littlepage and myself were at Stevensville when the rangers passed that place on
their way to the appointed place of ambush. Being determined to participate in the
affair, we set off on foot, having no horses to ride, and reached the rendezvous a little
after dark. The Yankees came up in a few hours, and were fired on. Immediately after
this fire, and while it was still doubtful whether the enemy would summon up courage
enough to advance again, in a word, before any one else ventured to do so, Littlepage
ran out into the road, and, finding a " dead Yankee " there, proceeded to search his
pockets to see, as he said, if he might not be fortunate enough to find a watch. The
little fellow wanted to own a watch, and, as the Yankees had robbed me, his teacher,
af a gold watch a short time before, I suppose he concluded that there would be no harm
in his taking a watch ft-om a " dead Yankee ; " but his teacher always discouraged any
feeding of this kind in his pupils. Littlepage failed to secure the prize by not looking in
the overcoat pockets, and the watch (for there was really one) was found afterwards by
Lieut. Hart. But in searching the pockets of the inner garments, Littlepage did find a
segar-case, a memorandum-box, etc.
" When the Yankees had been driven back and thrown into a panic by the sudden-
ness of our fire and the darkness of the night, a Confederate lieutenant, whom the enemy
had captured at Prederick Hall, embraced the opportunity presented to make his escape,
and actually succeeded in getting over to our side.
â Ve could, by this time, hear tlie enemy galloping rapidly over the field, and ar-
rangements were soon made to prevent their possible escape. Our force determined to
go down the road towards King and Queen Court-House, and barricade it.
" But, as before mentioned, myself and the only member of my companj had with
me, were on foot, and unable to keep up with the horsemen. It was therefore decided
that the prisoners whom we had captured should be left in my charge. In the confu-
wion, however, all the prisoners had been carried off by others, save the one claiming to
De a Confederate officer, which he afterwards proved to be â and a gallant one at that.
But, under the circumstances, I felt compelled to treat him as an enemy, until time should
prove him a friend.
" Wishing to find a place of safety, and feeling that it would be hazardous for so
small a party to take any of the public roads (for we knew not how many more Yankees
there were, nor in what direction they might come), I decided to go into the woods a
STATEMENT OF EDWARD W. HALBAOH 505
short distance, and there spend the night. My party consisted of myself, Littlepage, the
â¢' lieutenant," and several other gentlemen of King and Queen County. We walked into
the woods about a quarter of a mile, and sat down.
" Up to this time, we had not even an intimation of the name and rank of the officer
commanding the enemy. In fact, we felt no curiosity to know. All we cared for was to
punish as severely as possible the raiders with whom we were contending. We knew
that one man was killed, but knew not who he was. We were just getting our places
for the night, and wrapping up with blankets, garments, etc., such as we had, for the
ground was freezing, and we dared not make a fir^, when Littlepage pulled out a segar-case,
and said : ' Mr. Halbach, will you have a segar ? ' ' No,' said I ; ' but where did you get
segars these hard times ? ' lie replied that lie had got them out of tlie pocket of the
Yankee who had been killed, and that lie had also taken from the same man a memoran-
dum-book and some papers. ' Well,' said I, ' William, you must give me the papers,
and you may keep the segar-case.'
" Littlepage then remarked that the dead Yankee had a wooden leg. Here the Lieu-
tenant, greatly agitated, exclaimed : ' How do you know he has a wooden leg? '
" ' I know he has,' replied Littlepage, ' because I caught hold of it, and tried to puU
" ' There ! ' replied the Lieutenant, ' yon have killed Col. Dahlgren, who was in com-
mand of the enemy. His men were devoted to him, and I would advise you all to take
care of yourselves now, for if the Yankees catch you with anything belonging to him
they will certainly hang us all to the nearest tree.'
" Of course it was impossible for us to learn the contents of the papers, without mak-
ing a light to read them by, or waiting till the nest morning. We did the latter ; and,
as soon as day broke, the papers were read, and found to contain every line and every
word as afterwards copied into the Eichmond newspapers. Dahlgren's name was signed
to one or more of the papers, and also written on the inside of the front cover of his
memorandum-book. Here the date of purchase, I suppose, was added. The book had
been written with a degree of haste clearly indicated by the frequent interlineations and
corrections, but the orders referred to had also been re-written on a separate sheet of
paper ; and, as thus copied, were published to the world. Some of the papers were
found loose in Dahlgren's pockets, others were between the leaves of the memorandum-
" The papers thus brought to light were preserved by myself in the continual pres-
ence of witnesses of unquestionable veracity, until about two o'clock in the afternoon of
the day after their capture ; at which time myself and party met Lieut. Pollard, who, up
to this time, knew nothing in the world of the existence of the Dahlgren Papers. At
his request, I let him read the papers ; after doing which he requested me to let him carry
them to Richmond. At first, I refused, for I thought that I knew what to do with tliem
quite as well as any one else. But I was finally induced, by my friend-i, against my will,
to surrender the papers to Lieut. Pollard, mainly in consideration of the fact that they
would reach Richmond much sooner through him than through a semi-weekly mail. The
papers which were thus handed over to the Confederate Government â I state it again â
were correctly copied Jjy the Richmond jieicspapers.
A thousand and one falsehoods have been told about this affair â by our own men as well
as by the Yankees. Some of our own men were actuated by motives of selfislmess and
ambition to claim each one for himself the whole credit of the aflair ; when, in fact,
the credit belongs to no particular individual, but, collectively, to the whole of our party.
We were a strange medley of regulars, raw troops, old farmers, preachers, schoolboys
etc. But I believe that all present did their duty, only to find that all the credit waa
506 THE LOST CAUSE,
afterwards claimed, with a considerable degree of success among the igncrant, by those
who were not present.
" The credit of the command of our party belongs alone to Capt. Fox, than whom
there was no more chivalric spirit in either army. In makii)g this statement, I am actu-
ated only by a desire to do justice to the memory of one who was too unassuming to
sound liis own trumpet. I am also told, by soldiers, that Lieut. Pollard deserves a con-
siderable degree of credit, for the part he played in following and harassing the enemy
up to the time they took the right fork of the road near J3utler's Tavern.
" You are, of course, aware of the fact that the enemy has always denied the au-
thenticity of the Dahlgren Papers, and declared them to be forgeries. To prove the
utter absurdity and falsehood of such a charge, I submit the following :
" 1. The papers were taken by Littlepage from the person of a man whose name he
had never heard. It was a dark night, and the captor, with the aid of the noon-day
Bun, could not write at all. I afterwards taught him to write a little in my school.
" The question occurs : Can a boy who cannot write at all, write such papers, and
sign to them an unknown name ? If they had been forged by any one else, would they
have been placed in the hands of a child ? Could any one else have forged an unknown
and unheard of name?
" 2. The papers were handed to me immediately after their capture, in the presence
of gentlemen of undoubted integrity and veracity, before whom I can prove that the
papers not only were not, but could not have been, altered or interpolated by myself.
These gentlemen were with me every moment of the time between my receiving the
papers and my delivering them to Lieut, Pollard.
" 3. If Lieut. Pollard had made any alterations in the papers, these would have been
detected by every one who read the papers before they were given to him, and after-
wards read them in the newpapers. But all agree that they were correctly copied. In
short, human testimony cannot establish any fact more fully than the fact that Col. Ulric
Dahlgron was the author of the " Dahlgren Papers."
" With regard to the part taken by myself in this affair, I lay no claim to any credit.
I do not write this version of the affair to gain notoriety, I have made it a rule not to
mention my own name, except in cases where I found that false impressions were being
made upon the public mind. You know very well that my being Littiepage's captain
entitled me to claim the capture of the papers for myself. But this I have never done
And, even when called upon by Gen. Fitz. Lee to give my siBdavit to the authenticity of
the papers, I wrote him word that Littlepage was the captor of them. In his letter te
Lieut. Pollard, which was forwarded to me, he asked : ' Who is Capt, Ilalbach ? ' I re-
plied, for myself, that I was nothing more than the humble captain of a company of
school-boys, and that if I deserved any credit, it was only so much as he might choose
to give me for preserving the papers, when advised to destroy them, to avoid being cap-
tured with them in my possession, which, I was told, would result in the hanging of our
" I have never given the information herein contained before, because I had hoped
that it would be given to the public by others, and I give it now, because I regard it as
a duty to do so. My own course, after the killing of Dahlgren, was as follows : I joined
those who agreed to bury him decently in a coffin, and in compliance with a promise
made to a scout by the name of Hogan, I prepared a neat little head-board wi h my own
hands, to mark his grave. This was not put up, because the messenger from Air. Dav5Â«
for the body of Dahlgren arrived while we were taking it out of the ground where *>
liad been hastily buried."
OPENING OF THE GREAT SPRING CAMPAIGN OF 1864. â EXPLANATION OF RENE-WED CONFIDET^IE IS
EIOHMOND. â PROSPECT FOR THE CONFEDERATES IN THE PRESIDENTIAL CONTEST OF 1804. â
A NEW THEORY OF PEACE. VALUE OF ENDURANCE. â THE MISSION OF MESSRS. HOLCOMBE,
CLAY AND THOMPSON. â THEY LEAVE WILMINGTON WHEN THE CAMPAIGN ON THE RAPIDAN
OPENS. U. S. GRANT APPOINTED LIEUTENANT-GENERAL OF THE FEDERAL ARMIES. â CHAR-
ACTER OF GRANT. â COMPARED WITH BUELL. GEN, GRANt's LOW AND GROSS CONCEPTION
OF WAR. â THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PREPARES AN ARMY ORGANIZATION OF ONE MIL-
LION OF MEN. â DISTRIBUTION OF THE FEDERAL FORCES IN VIRGINIA. â STRENGTH OF THE
ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. â POSITION AND NUMBERS OF GEN. LEE. HIS GREAT ANXIETY.
APPEAL OF CONFEDERATE WOMEN. â THE BATTLES OF THE WILDERNESS. GRANT CROSSES
THE RAPIDAN. LEE SPRINGS UPON HIS FLANK. â ATTACK OF EWEI.L AND HILL. THE CON-
FEDERATE LINE BROKEN. GORDON'S SPLENDID CHARGE. GALLANT CONDUCT OF PEGRAm's
AND hays' DIVISIONS. â NIGHT ATTACK OF THE ENEMY. THE SECOND DAY'S BATTLE.
hill's CORPS BROKEN. â LONGSTREET COMES UP AND TURNS THE FORTUNES OF THE DAY.
HK IS SHOT DOWN BY HIS OWN MEN. â GEN. LEE OFFERS TO LEAD A CHARGE. â TOUCHING
REMONSTRANCES OF THE MEN. â THE CONFEDERATE ATTACK WITHDRAWN. â RESULTS OF
THE DAY. â Gordon's night attack. â grant's whole army on the verge of rout.â
HIS immense losses. MOVEMENTS OF THE TWO ARMIES TO SPOTTSYLVANIA COURT-HOUSE
masterly performance of lee. â a melancholy episode to the campaign.
Sheridan's expedition. â death of gen. stuart. â battles of spottsylvania court-
house. â COMBAT of Anderson's corps. â the fighting on the IOtii may. â the bat-
tle ON THE 12th. A salient OF THE CONFEDERATE LINE TAKEN. â GREAT SLAUGHTER
OF THE ENEMY. â GRANT CONFESSES A FAILURE, AND WAITS SIX DAYS FOR REINFORCE-
MENTS. OPERATIONS ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF RICHMOND. GRANt's INSTRUCTIONS TO
BUTLER.â SIGEl's COLUMN IN WESTERN VIRGINIA, ANOTHER PART OF THE COMBINATION.
butler's BOASTFUL DESPATCH. HE DARES " THE WHOLE OF LEE's ARMY.'' â HE 13 DE-
FEATED BY BEAUREGARD, AND HIS ARMY " BOTTLED UP." OPERATIONS IN THE KANAWHA
AND SHENANDOAH VALLEYS. SIGNAL DEFEAT OF SIGEL. â GRANt's COMBINATION BROKEN
DOWN. â HE MOVES TO THE NORTH ANNA RIVER. â IS FOILED AGAIN BY LEE. â HE CROSSES
THE PAMUNKEY RIVER. â " THE PENINSULA " MADE THE BATTLE-GROUND AGAIN. â TIO
BUM OF GLORY ACHIEVED BY LEe's ARMY. â STATEMENT AS TO LEE's REINFORCEMENTS. â
THE FEDERAL HOST HELD AT BAY BY AN ARMY OF FIFTY THOUSAND MEN. GASEOUS NON-
SENSE IN NEW YORK ABOUT GRANT's GENERALSHIP. Hid OPERATIONS IN MAY ABSURD
AND CONTEMPTIBLE FAILURES.
It is remarkable that at tlie opening of the great spring campaign of
1864, tliere should have simultaneously prevailed at Washington the opin-
ion that the operations of the year would certainly restore the Union, and
508 THE LOST CAUSE.
at Richmond the opinion that tlie coming campaign was more likely to
accomplish the independence of the Southern Confederacy than any pre-
ceding one of the war. These opinions wore probably equally sincere and
intelligent. Some special explanation must be found for a conflict of
judgment so sharp and decided. The North trusted to its acumulation of
men and material to make the fourth year of the war the triumphant one
for its cause. The South, to a certain extent, had been encouraged by the
series of successes we have remarked in the first months of this year ; but
this animation is not sufficient to account for the large measure of expec-
tation and confidence with which she entered upon the dominant campaign
of 1864. There was- a special occasion of hope and reassurance.
Despite the little benefit, beyond verbal assistance, which the Confed-
erate cause had derived from the Democratic party in the North, and de-
spite the losses of that party in the elections of 1863, it was observed, in
the spring of 1864, that it was beginning to raise a peace platform for tho
next Presidential election. That critical election was the point of a new
prospect for the South. It was evident that there was a serious impa-
tience in the North at the prolongation of the war ; and it was probable
that if the South could maintain the status quo through anotlier campaign,
and put before the North the prospect of another and indefinite term of
hostilities, the present rulers at Washington would be discredited, the
Democratic party get into power, and the Northern public be persuaded
to accept as the conclusion of the war some favourable treaty, league, or
other terms short of an actual restoration of the Union. It was said, with
reason, in Richmond, that such was Northern impatience that the question
of the war had simply become one of endurance on the part of the South ;
tliat even without positive victories in the field, and merely by securing
negative results in the ensuing campaign, the Democratic party would be
able to overthrow the Administration at Washington, and to open negotia-
tions with Richmond as between government and government.
How seriously this argument was entertained in Richmond, may be
understood from the fact that, simultaneously with the opening of the
campaign in Virginia, President Davis prepared a mission to open com-
munication with the Democratic party in the North, and to conduct in
pace with the military campaign whatever political negotiation miglit be
practicable in the North. The commissioners entrusted with this intrigue
were Messrs. Thompson, of Mississippi, Holcombe, of Virginia, and Clay,
of Alabama ; and they were to proceed to a convenient place on the North-
ern frontier, and use whatever political opportunities the military events of
the war might develop. They ran the blockade at Wilmington on the night
of the day that the first gun on the Rapidan opened the momentous cam-
paign of 1864.
The bloody drama of the war was to recommence on the banks of thia
GEN. UEANT, COM]V[AJST)EE-IN-CIIIEF. 505)
stream, where Gen. Lee's army liad been stationed during the winter. On
the Federal side a new and important actor was to appear on tlie scene.
Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who had had a long run of success in the West, had
been appointed lieutenant-general and commander-in-chief of all the Fed-
eral forces, and was now to answer the expectation of his admirers by a
campaign in Virginia and the repetition of the enterprise upon the Con-
federate capital. The Richmond journals complimented him as a " man
of far more energy and ability than any that had yet commanded the
Army of the Potomac," but " his performances would bear no comparison
wliatever to those of Gen. Lee."
The new Federal commander in Yirginia was one of the most remark-
able accidents of the war. That a man without any marked ability, cer-
tainly without genius, without fortune, without influence, should attain the
position of leader of all the Federal armies, and stand the most conspicu-
ous person on that side of the war, is a phenomenon which would be inex-
plicable among any other people than the sensational and coarse mobs of
admiration in the North. Gen. Grant's name was coupled with success ;
and this circumstance alone, without regard to merit of personal agency,
without reference to any display of mental quality in the event, was sufli-
cient to fix him in the admiration of the ^Northern public. It mattered
not that Grant had illustrated no genius ; it mattered not that he had
smothered Fort Donelson by numbers ; it mattered not that he had suc-
ceeded at Yicksburg through the glaring incompetency of a Confederate
commander, and by the weight of eighty thousand men against twenty
odd thousand ; the North was prepared to worship him, without distin-
guishing between accident and achievement, and to entitle him the hero
of the war.
It is a curious commentary on the justice of popular judgment, that
while Grant was thus elevated to power and fame, the man who rescued
him at Perryville and again at Shiloh, and whose heroism and genius had
saved there the consequences of his stupidity, should be languishing in
obscurity. This man was Gen. Buell. It was he who had contributed
most to Grant's success, and whose masterly manoeuvres had done more to
reclaim the Mississippi Yalley for the Federals than any other commander,
and who now had been sacrificed to the spirit of political intrigue. At a
time when popular passion clamoured for the desolation of the South, Gen.
Buell persisted, with a firmness rarer and more admirable even than he
exhibited in the crisis of battle, in conducting the war on the principles of
humanity ; and by this noble moderation he incurred the displeasure of
the faction that controlled the Government at Washington. The Radicals
waged a war of extermination ; but he proposed, with the sagacity of a
statesman, to conciliate the good will of the South, while he overcame ita
resistance by an exertion of physical force. His system was too refined
610 THE LOST CAUSE.