in the performance for that day, but its history does not bear out the promise.
It was but seven miles from the bivouacs which his men left about 2.30 A. M. to White Oak Bridge where they went into bivouac at night.
No obstacle to a swift march existed, but the earliest arrival noted in the reports is at 9.30 A. M. by Col. Crutchfield
of the Artillery.
himself puts it later.
White Oak Swamp
rises between the Charles City
and the Williamsburg
road near where the Confederate
lines crossed them, five miles from Richmond
The course of the stream is southeast, almost parallel to that of the Charles City
road for about six miles. Then it turns and runs directly toward the Chickahominy
some three miles away.
Just above this bend was Brackett's Ford, and about a mile below it was the main road crossing at which Jackson
arrived about 9.30 A. M., Monday.
The stream itself was a small creek, averaging 10 to 15 feet wide and six inches deep, with sandy bottom.
The swamp was merely a flat area densely grown up in trees and bushes, more or less wet in places, but generally with firm footing.
Small farms and settlements were scattered along its edges, and residents and cattle had many paths in and through it. It was widest near its source, where the country was flatter.
Near the bridge the country was rolling and the swamp grew narrow.
Four crossings above the bridge were well known to the natives, —Chapman's (or Goodman
's, and Brackett
's,—and one below called Carter
's; but besides these were many less-known paths.
The road crossing was held by Franklin
, who thus describes the operations of the day in his official report:—
About noon I was directed by the commanding general to assume command at the position guarding the crossing of the swamp, and repaired there at once.
I found that a terrific cannonade had been opened by the enemy upon the divisions of Gen. Smith and Gen. Richardson and the brigade of Gen. Naglee.
The two latter had been placed under my command by the commanding general.
The casualties in Richardson's division were quite numerous, but I have received no report of the action from him. In Gen. Smith's division and in Gen. Naglee's brigade the number lost was insignificant.
The enemy kept up the firing during the whole day and crossed some infantry below our position, but he made no very serious attempt to cross during the day, and contented himself with the cannonading and the firing