Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Controversial Death

Union Colonel Ulric Dahlgren was killed during a raid on the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia on March 2nd 1864.

Ulric Dahlgren was the son of Rear Admiral John A and Madeleine (Vinton) Dahlgren, and was born April 3rd 1842 in Neshaminy, Buck County, Pennsylvania.  After graduating from school in 1858, he went to work as a civil engineer, surveying some lands in Mississippi.  In 1860 he began studying law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

When the Civil War started, Dahlgren served on the military staffs of Franz Sigel, Ambrose E Burnside, Joseph Hooker and George G Meade.  He precipitated in reconnaissance during the Battle of Chancellorsville, and scouted Confederate lines throughout the Gettysburg Campaign.  On July 6th 1863 while fighting as part of the cavalry in Union General H Judson Kilpatrick’s division Dahlgren was wounded and lost his foot.  He was back in the saddle with a promotion to Colonel by February 1864.  While on a cavalry raid near the King and Queen County Court House, Dahlgren was killed March 2nd 1864, being shot in the side and back.  His body was hidden by Union sympathizers.  It was recovered by the family after the war and buried in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

There were papers found on Dahlgren’s body that contained signed orders written on Union stationery, of which read, "The men must keep together and well in hand, and once in the city it must be destroyed and Jeff. Davis and Cabinet killed."  These papers were reprinted in European and American newspapers, causing a great deal of controversy.

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