The Dahlgren Affair

Sa27goo2 "Meade confided to his wife that "Kilpatrick’s reputation, and collateral evidence in my possession, rather go against this theory" that Dahlgren alone devised the conspiracy.

In addition to Meade’s private beliefs, the papers’ authenticity is corroborated by statements from Bureau of Military Information officers John McEntee, who accompanied Dahlgren on the raid and thus saw the papers, and John Babcock…"  Wiki


502144626_8506844076 A great historical mystery – Why did John Wilkes Booth assassinate President Lincoln?  Did he act from idiosyncratic madness?

As many of you know, I am editing the second volume of my series of novels.  They are set in the American Civil War.

In spite of the primitive techno0logy of that time, the politics of the war and the actions of the actors are easily recognisable today.

The "Dahlgren Affair" may well say something important to us avout the impossibility of ever really controlling the actions of something as large as a national government.  pl

The picture is of Dahlgren Chapel in Turner’s Gap.  Admiral Dahlgren built it in memory of his son.


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9 Responses to The Dahlgren Affair

  1. Will says:

    Some interesting tidbits from the Wiki. Swedish origin, his Dad was a Navy Admiral that revolutionized ship guns, and his Uncle was a confederate general:

    Despite Radical Republican associations, John Dahlgren’s younger brother Charles G. Dahlgren (1811-1888) was a strong proponent of slave ownership and was a Confederate Brigadier General, Commander of the 3rd Brigade, Army of Mississippi, which he personally funded.

  2. Green Zone Cafe says:

    Very interesting. The Civil War was really the first modern war.
    Now, a special operations raid to kill or capture an enemy’s leadership would be hailed as brilliant and heroic, if successful, and would be condemned only on grounds of execution if not.
    It’s both sad and quaint that Admiral Dahlgren felt the need to try to clear his son’s name. Sad in both the individual sense, as his son was undoubtedly a hero, and in the collective sense, showing how standards of warfare have declined.

  3. Will says:

    It all has the smell of JFK-Fidel Castro redux. I have a Marine friend that knew young Oswald at Camp Pendelton. He says that even then they called him “Comrade.” He said he was an excellent marksman. That old saying-“no such thing as an ex-marine.”
    The orders allowed the freeing of prisoners on the isle of xxx, the burning of Richmond, and the capture or killing (assasination) of the confederate leadership.
    At the time, the papers were released for morale purposes at home, and propaganda in Europe, the burning of Richmond or killing of the leadership seemed ghastly & outside the rules of war.
    After Tecumseh Sherman’s waging of total war, i.e. burning of Atlanta, crops, etc.- it would seem to have become moot.
    It has always intrigued me why the burning of Atlanta was accepted but that of Columbia had to be apologized for as accidental?

  4. Will says:

    Re Sic Semper Tyrannis
    Many know that JW Booth shouted the phrase as he shot Abe, but few, myself included (except thru this site), are aware that it is the motto of and is on the seal on the commonwealth of VA and is on its flag.
    Now the motto of NC is
    North Carolina State Motto Esse Quam Videri To Be, Rather Than To Seem

  5. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    I think I am gonna’ sit this one out for awhile, but I did click on the image of the VA historical marker and recommend others do the same. Two sentences from said marker nearly jumped out and landed on my keyboard. Verify for yourself but to quote:
    “A local African American escorted the [Union] troopers to a nearby ford but the water was too high to cross. Suspecting trickery, [Union officer] Dahlgren hanged him near here on March 1…”
    The Union officer hanged the African American? Geez…wasn’t this a war of liberation?
    Of course, maybe I am being too harsh on Union officer Dahlgren. Maybe he didn’t hang the African American because he suspected trickery but, instead, suspected “treason”. But of course if the Union officer had concluded that the African American was involved in treason, then the Union officer had also surmised that said local African American was fighting for the CSA. Probably best to stick with the former interpretation.
    But, then again, “suspecting trickery” is a far cry from proving “trickery” beyond a reasonable doubt. Did the Union Officer, while carrying out his war of liberation, actually apply due process rights to the African American? I dunno’ about that one.

  6. YT says:

    Second “total war” in western history just a little after the Napoleonic campaigns. Despite the writin’s of Jomini, it was basically Clausewitzian in scope. All that the Napoleons of that era conceived of.
    & with Tecumseh Sherman’s razin’ of Atlanta, it’s “anythin’ goes” ever since. A precusor of worse things to come…

  7. What is the best popular treatment of the “RAID?”

  8. Tom Scully says:

    Strangely and ironically, Ulric Dahlgren’s first cousin, son of Ulric’s father Admiral John Dahlgren’s brother, Gen. Charles Dahlgren, protested to the NY TImes in 1879, that Jefferson Davis had “stolen” the cousin Mortimer Dahlgren’s half sister, Sarah Dorsey’s estate upon her death, including her Mississippi plantaion, “Beauvoir”. The Dahlgren family appears to have contested Dorsey’s will. Davis ended up with Beauvoir, and today it is the Davis museum!
    Relevant link:

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