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    Description

    [Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid]. Union Soldier's Diary Belonging to Jacob A. Long of the 16th Pennsylvania Cavalry. A small, black leather diary, 4" x 6", printed and dated for the year 1864. The front of the diary reveals that the diary was "Bought from W. H. Gleason near Warrington, Virginia." The majority of pages are blank, but there are almost daily entries for the month of March, with details from the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid, and scattered entries in April and May. There are also a few entries that have also been written in for specific days but which have annotated dates for later years. The first undated entry of the diary reads, "we started for en route for Richmond in Virginia to release our prisoners at bell island to keep from starving in prison and we had a pleasent [sic] time of it the wether was warm and dry and no rain nor storm the bay looks very clear and blue for this time."

    Long's involvement in the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid spans from Sunday, February 28 to Thursday, March 3. On the 28th, he wrote, "we have laid by all day to get redey [sic] to attack the enemy on Monday morning nothing more than a faint movement on lee while grant attacks longstreeth [sic] in the west." The next day, Long's cavalry attacked the railroad, and he wrote, "...we got to Spotsylvania in the afternoon we burnt the warehouse at the railroad station on the Fredericksburg r.r." The aim had been to destroy the property and railroads around Richmond and then to launch an attack on the city, but a Confederate train was able to pass through the lines and warn the defending Rebel army. On the evening of March 1, the rebel cavalry set out against the raiders, and the Union was forced to retreat. Long wrote of the event, "...on Tuesday attacked richmond and that night the enemy attacked us when we was asleep and raining and that night we started for Kent Court hous and then to Williamsburg then to Yorktown." The raiding attempts had ended by the 3rd, with the retreat towards Yorktown. Long reminisced on the path previously having been used by the army in past engagements, writing "...marching along through dixee land peninsula the road that McClellan in front of Richmond and we was on all the battlefields that he fought."

    While the Union cavalry succeeded in destroying some rail lines and buildings, the raid ended up causing quite the scandal. During the retreat from Richmond, Colonel Dahlgren was killed, and his body was found by the Confederates. On Dahlgren's person were found orders to burn the city of Richmond and assassinate President Davis and his cabinet. The indignant Confederate officials published these papers in the press, causing outrage in both the South and North. The legitimacy of these orders is still debated but regardless caused public outcry across the country. The matter was only dropped when General George Meade gave his personal assurance that the papers were not sanctioned by him.

    However, Long was to return to Richmond near the end of the war. After the evacuation of the city, on May 25, 1865, Long details his impression of the Confederate capital, saying, "I went to Richmon [sic] to see the place and the rebel capital it looks hard but old Washington sits thear [sic] on his horse and the princepal [sic] part of the town was burnt and disstroyed by fier [sic]." We believe this was written in 1865 and not 1864 (although the regiment was stationed around Richmond in 1864) because the entry for the following day has "1865" written in, and both entries are written in the same red ink.

    Condition: Leather cover is worn and slightly rubbed. Pages of the diary are toned throughout, with the edges chipped in places. Overall very fine.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2018
    25th Thursday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 335

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