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INV-23879.04 [HUGH JUDSON KILPATRICK] Manuscript Document Signed by Adjutant, to Lt. Col. Addison W. Preston, March 8, 1864. 2 pp., 7 x 9 in. 1864-03-08

On your way you will thoroughly scout the country on either side of your route, arresting all white citizens able to bear arms. You will make every effort to bring along with your command as many negrows as possible.

At the end of February 1864, Brigadier General H. Judson Kilpatrick launched a raid to rescue prisoners of war held in the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. The raid turned into a disaster when Kilpatrick’s men were stopped northwest of the city and a supporting force of infantry under Colonel Ulric Dahlgren was routed by Confederates. Dahlgren was killed, and papers found on his body detailed plans to burn Richmond and assassinate Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Richmond newspapers published the papers, and the southern public called for the execution of Union prisoners. Kilpatrick escaped with some of his cavalry to join General Benjamin Butler’s Army of the James on the Virginia Peninsula, though he lost more than 1,300 men killed and taken prisoner.

Here, Kilpatrick orders Preston and the 1st Vermont Cavalry to move on West Point, Virginia, at the confluence where the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers form the York River. Kilpatrick was soon transferred to the Western Theater as part of General William T. Sherman’s army.

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