From the Richmond Dispatch, 8/28/1894, p. 4, c. 3
ULRIC DAHLGREN’S BODY.
The letter of Colonel Atkinson, of North Carolina, published in the Dispatch of Sunday, contains the facts as to the killing of Col. Ulric Dahlgren, but the writer is mistaken in supposing that Dahlgren’s body was never recovered and identified.
Soon after Dahlgren’s body was buried in Oakwood Cemetery it was exhumed by Captain Martin M. Lipscomb and others and removed to a new place of burial near Hungary (now Laurel) Station. All the circumstances of this reinterment were long ago written up by me and published in the Dispatch. I derived my information from Captain Lipscomb, Samuel McCubbin, chief of Confederate detectives, and Miss Bettie Van Lew.
The reinterment was the doing of certain Unionists of Richmond, who wished to save the body for delivery to Admiral Dahlgren, and who were unaware of the purpose of President Davis to return it under flag of truce. To this end they secured the aid of Lipscomb, who, as contractor for the burial of Confederate dead, knew where the body was interred.
The body was taken from Oakwood to a house on Chelsea Hill and was there prepared for burial in a metallic coffin. After the evacuation it was delivered to Admiral Dahlgren. Lipscomb refused to take any money for his services, but another man connected with the removal received as pay $500.
McCubbin was the officer by whom President Davis sent the peremptory order to Colonel Atkinson to deliver the body, and who opened the grave and found it empty. That was his sole connection with the affair. He was a true and faithful officer.
What Lipscomb did he did “in the cause of humanity,” he has frequently said to me, and I believe him.
Nothing in the tragic history of this daring and reckless raider is more interesting than that chapter concerning his disinterment by night, at the instigation of Miss Bettie Van Lew and her brother John. Mrs. Dahlgren, the step-mother of Ulric, has written Ulric Dahlgren’s biography, and I believe that she relates the facts as to the disinterment, but she denies the authenticity of Dahlgren’s murderous orders. Therein she rejected the truth. I once saw a photographic copy of the orders in the hands of Dr. J. William Jones, when he was the secretary of the Southern Historical Society.
W. D. C.