Ulric Dahlgren

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Ulric Dahlgren
Col. Ulric Dahlgren (seen here as a captain)
Born(1842-04-03)April 3, 1842
Bucks County, Pennsylvania
DiedMarch 2, 1864(1864-03-02) (aged 21)
(near Stevensville), King and Queen County, Virginia
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy

 United States Army

Years of service1861 - 1862 (Union Navy)
1862 - 1864 (Union Army)
RankUnion Army colonel rank insignia.png Colonel
WarsAmerican Civil War
RelationsRear Admiral John A. Dahlgren (father)

Ulric Dahlgren (April 3, 1842 – March 2, 1864) was a colonel in the Union Army during the American Civil War. In 1864, he led an unsuccessful raid on the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia and was killed. The failed raid resulted in the Dahlgren Affair after incriminating documents were discovered on Dahlgren's corpse.

Early life[edit]

Ulric Dahlgren was born April 3, 1842, to Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren and Mary Clement Bunker.[1]

Ulric Dahlgren

A second son to his parents, Dahlgren was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Incidentally, his uncle, Charles G. Dahlgren, settled in Mississippi and would eventually join the Confederate Army as a general when the Civil War broke out.

After completing school in 1858, Dahlgren's father supplied him with instruction in the field of civil engineering and by 1859, he was busy surveying land in Mississippi. In September 1860, with the support of his father, he ventured to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he found work at a law office.

American Civil War[edit]

Following the inauguration of the 16th U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln, in March 1861, Dahlgren entered military service and thus before July 24, 1861, he joined the U.S. Navy since on that date he was on a U.S. Navy expedition from the Washington Ship Yard to help in the defense of Alexandria, Virginia. On May 29, 1862, Dahlgren was transferred from the U.S. Navy to the U.S. Army and promoted to captain by the U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton who quickly recognized his gunnery talent while at Harpers Ferry. He was active on behalf of the U.S. Army at the Second Battle of Bull Run and the Battle of Fredericksburg both in 1862 and at the Battle of Chancellorsville, the Battle of Brandy Station, as well as the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Wounded on July 6, 1863, while trying to reach Hagerstown, Maryland, he had to have his foot amputated.

For these efforts, the Dahlgren received a Commission as a colonel on July 24, 1863. With his wound sufficiently healed, he returned to the battlefield on February 18, 1864, under the command of Brig. Gen. Hugh Judson Kilpatrick in time for a so-called "Kilpatrick Raid" upon the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia where he was killed in action.

Papers found on Dahlgren's corpse shortly after his death contained orders for an assassination plot against Confederate President Jefferson Davis. The discovery and publication of the Dahlgren Papers sparked controversy in the South. The disrespectful display of Dahlgren's corpse in Richmond inflamed Northern public opinion, until the intervention of Elizabeth Van Lew enabled his burial, at considerable risk to the Union spy network she ran in the Confederate capital.[citation needed] The papers may have contributed to John Wilkes Booth's decision to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln a year later.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dahlgren p. 11
  2. ^ Wittenberg, Eric J. "Ulric Dahlgren in the Gettysburg Campaign". Retrieved 2009-02-16.

External links[edit]