Brigadier General Charles Gustavus Ulrich Dahlgren, Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick, Colonel Ulric Dalhgren, General George Armstrong Custer, Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid, Major General James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart

The Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid Of Richmond

In 1864, Union Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick devised a plan to send hundreds of calvary soldiers to liberate Union prisoners in Belle Isle, burn down the Confederate Capital of Richmond, and to assassinate Confederate President Jefferson Finis Davis. Colonel Ulric Dalhgren, the son of Union Navy Rear Admiral John Adolphus Bernard Dahlgren and nephew of Confederate Brigadier General Charles Gustavus Ulrich Dahlgren, and Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick lead the Union forces during that calvary raid.

Sketch of Colonel Ulrich Dalhgren.

General George Armstrong Custer led a force to attack the Confederacy, outside of Charlottesville, as a distraction from the main Kilpatrick-Dahlgren raid in Richmond. Major General James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart took command of the counter attack, against General Custer’s soldiers, after Stuart’s Horse Artillery was captured. General Custer withdrew his forces from the Charlottesville area after hearing train whistle, which he took to be Confederate reinforcements.

Outside of Richmond, the Union Calvary burned down various structures along the way to the city, but faced more resistance than expected. Ultimately, the mission failed as no prisoners were released, the City of Richmond was not burnt down, only buildings outside of the city were burnt, and President Jefferson Davis was not assasinated.

Author’s Note:

While reading the book, “Kill Jeff Davis”, which is about the attempted raid on the Confederate Capital of Richmond, I decided to visit one of the historical markers dedicated to that military action during the United States Civil War.

Confederate President Jefferson Finis Davis, Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid, The Dahlgren Affair

Plans To Assassinate Confederate President Jefferson Davis Found In Union Colonel Ulric Dahlgren’s Pockets After The Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid

Painting of the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid.

From February 28 to March 1, 1864 Union Brigadier General H. Judson Kilpatrick and Colonel Ulric Dahlgren launched failed a calvary ambush of Richmond, Virginia known as the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid and as “The Dahlgren Affair”.

The union forces were repeatedly attacked, after retreating from Richmond, on their way to northern Virignia.

Union Colonel Ulric Dahlgren lead 200 troops during the retreat, to King and Queen County, Virginia. Colonel Dahlgren was shot and a thirteen year old boy found a letter describing plans to assassinate Confederate President Jefferson Davis. The plans were published in Confederate newspapers and Colonel Dahlgren’s body was hung in public display in Richmond.

Photograph of Union Colonel Ulric Dahlgren.

As retaliation, the Confederate government planned to kidnap Lincoln and to set explosives in the White House. Both plans had failed, just as the union plan to kill Jefferson Davis had failed.