State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pollard and Dahlgren- "This drew a volley upon himself"

We moved on through Stevensville to the River road, intending to take position at an old mill-dam, but as I had some doubt about reaching that point before the enemy I put the men in position at Mantapike, the intersection of the Stevensville and River roads. In the mean time, we had fallen in with some citizens and Home Guards, who followed on, and continued with us until the enemy came up. It was now dark, and, after waiting some time for the enemy, I sent two of my men to make a reconnoissance, who soon returned and reported that the enemy had gone into camp a mile or so from us. When I put the men in line of battle in the edge of the woods, I ordered them to reserve their fire until the head of the column of the enemy should reach my left, where I had placed my first sergeant, Fleming Meredith,whose fire was to be a signal for the whole line. The enemy advanced about half-past eleven o'clock P. M. As the head of his column approached my line Colonel Dahlgren saw some of the men, and demanded their surrender. At the same time he attempted to fire his pistol, which snapped. This drew a volley upon himself, and he fell dead, pierced by five balls. When the volley was fired the enemy fell back in confusion and left the road, getting into a field, where we did not find them until morning. Captain Fox, Company E, Fifth Virginia Cavalry, being senior officer, had now taken command, and we fell back to a point which commanded a cross-road through Mantapike farm and waited until daybreak, when Captain Fox ordered me to take my company and find out the position of the enemy. I found them in a field, unsaddled and standing about in groups. We rode into the field, and they surrendered. The men had offered to surrender to an officer who had been captured by them in Louisa county, and was with them at the time. The enemy's officers had left and tied to the woods, but were afterwards captured by the Home Guards.
We captured about one hundred men and officers, and some forty negroes. Some of the men had silver pitchers, goblets, cups, etc., strapped to their saddles. I sent the silver to the War Department in Richmond, and it was returned to the owners. The number of horses captured greatly exceeded the number of men, and a good many were reclaimed by their owners. Just after we had fallen back William Littlepage, a boy about thirteen years old, who had followed on from Stevensville, with his teacher, a Mr. Hallbach, took from the body of Colonel Dahlgren the book and papers which contained the famous address and orders which excited such indignation among the Confederates. Mr. Hallbach gave me the papers, and, through Colonel Beale, they reached the War Office, at Richmond. The next day I was surprised to get an order from General Fitzhugh Lee to bring the body of Colonel Dahlgren to Richmond "for the purpose of identification." Colonel Dahlgren had been buried without a coffin, and as soon as a coffin was made his body was taken up, and put into it, looking as natural as if he had been dead only an hour. I went with the corpse to Richmond, and arrived there on Sunday evening (the 6th), reporting to General Elzey. I have since heard from an authentic source, that Colonel L W. Atkinson, provost marshal, had Colonel Dahlgren's body buried in Oakwood Cemetery. Afterwards the body was taken up, carried to Miss Van Lew's house, where a funeral service was held, then taken to the country,buried again, and since the war returned to his friends.

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