From the Richmond Times-Dispatch, 11/17/1901
And How It Led to an Investigation.
To the Editor of the Dispatch:
A great deal has been said in your paper concerning General Dahlgren and his artificial leg. I thought it would not be out of place to give a few personal recollections. I was a member of the Nineteenth Heavy Artillery, Richmond Defences, commanded by Major Carey, and the regiment by Colonel Atkinson. During the winter of 1863-1864 we were camped at “Battery 5,” and guarded the Libby prison, when the prisoners taken at the time Dahlgren was killed were brought in. They were not put in with the other prisoners, but were assigned to a cell to themselves. The body of Dahlgren was brought up on the “ York River railroad” and lay in the depot of that road for several days. He had a leg off, but I don not remember seeing the artificial leg anywhere. A detail was made from our battalion to bury the body. Colonel Atkinson was in charge of the detail. Two of this detail are still living in Amherst county. They helped to dig the grave and shovel the dirt on the coffin. Dahlgren was buried in Oakwood Cemetery. The grave was leveled down so that no one could tell where it was. About the 1st of April, 1864 , I was put in charge of ten men and sent down five or six miles below Richmond to picket a road. We had to stay one week before we were relieved. In this squad was one of the detail who had buried the “Gen.” as he was then called, and his name is C. R. Camden. He is still living. One day during our stay on that road I sent him to our camp at “ Battery 5,” on an errand. When he returned in the evening he reported to me that he came through Oakwood on his way back, that the grave of Dahlgren was open and the coffin had been removed. “Well,” I replied to him, “you may look out to be court-martialed pretty soon.” And sure enough he was. An investigation was had, but nothing could be proved against any of the detail. It was a great mystery at the time. Nobody could tell who removed the remains, or how the grave was known to any one, but those who had buried Dahlgren.
Inquiry was made of all persons then living in sight of the cemetery. One family remembered distinctly, they said, that several men and a one-horse wagon drove up there in the broad day time, opened the grave and carried off the coffin. How Miss Van Lew knew where the grave was is still a mystery. As Dahlgren was buried in secret and the grave leveled down in such a manner, that no one except some one who was present at the time of burial could have found it.
AN OLD CONFEDERATE SOLDIER.