previous next

The Valley campaign.

We find very little in the reports touching this campaign. I know that Colonel Munford commanded Wickham's brigade all through the same, while Wickham commanded the division. In the Records of the Rebellion, page 513, volume 46, part 1st, Major J. E. D. Hotckiss says: ‘Rosser came and gave details of the Beverley affair at night and got from Munford actions of his brigade during the campaign.’ These reports may have gone to General Lee and been lost, with many others, between Petersburg and Appomattox. It is to be regretted that so few reports of the operations of the cavalry are to be met with in the records.

Men never fought against greater odds than did our cavalry at Toms' Brook. Rosser had only 1,500 men. Sheridan had perhaps 8,000, some say 10,000. From the lookout on Massanutton mountain he could see that Rosser was detached from our infantry, so he ordered his men to turn and crush him. The horrors of that day are indescribable. Our troops were pressed back by the mere weight of numbers. After this there were many spirited engagements, with some success on our part.

The unequal conflict was drawing to a close.

Soldiers felt the coming events that cast their shadows before; none more sensibly than the cavalrymen who daily contended against overwhelming numbers. The raid to Beverley and other points stirred their drooping spirits for the time. The brilliant affair of Munford at Mt. Jackson renewed their confidence, but any general engagement where the men could see their lines overlapped on both flanks only brought defeat to the Confederates. [11] The disputes between our officers at this period are deeply to be regretted.

At this late date I do not like to mention one subject, but having noticed that the records refer to a trial of Colonel Munford, I will state the facts.

General Rosser ordered a detail from the 2d, 3d and 4th regiments to go on a raid to Beverley.

On account of the worn down horses and dispirited men, an earnest protest was made. Colonel Munford, Major Charles Old and myself visited General Rosser at his headquarters, asking that the raid be abandoned, or at least delayed. Colonel Munford pressed for delay, that Jack Palmer, our quartermaster, might return from Richmond with much needed supplies. At this time nearly every horse in the 3d regiment needed shoeing. As senior captain present, I was in command of the regiment, and found great difficulty in securing the detail that was made up for the Beverley raid.

Out of the discussions and disagreements at Rosser's headquarters, grew the arrest and trial of Colonel Munford. He was unanimously acquitted by the court.

Munford's commission as brigadier-general, according to the Confederate roster by Colonel Charles C. Jones, dated from November, 1864. General Stuart recommended him highly for the command of Robertson's brigade, and General Hampton urged his appointment to the 2d brigade. Do you inquire why the delay? I reply, West Point stood in the way.

At Five Forks Munford commanded Fitz Lee's division, and bore the brunt of the attack made by Warren's corps. The records show that we killed and wounded nearly as many of Crawford's and Chamberlain's divisions as we had men. Only a day of two before the surrender we captured General Gregg and many of his command. The 3d regiment led this charge. I have spoken to men here to-night who were in the fight. Lieutenant Harwood of my own company was killed by my side. Only a few days ago I was looking over a letter from General. Munford, in which he mentioned Harwood as a brave man and gallant officer. Our brigade headquarter flag was carried safely to the end, and was placed on President Davis' bier at New Orleans, when he and General Early acted as pall-bearers by request of the Virginia division of the A. N. V. The Historical Society of New Orleans has [12] promised to return it. General Munford said to me: ‘I hope some day to turn it over to the museum at our dear old capital.’

Munford was born in this city. There are those here to-night who knew and loved his father, who was so long the Secretary of the Commonwealth. He has a host of friends besides the soldiers who followed him through the years of war. His heart beats with love for you and his State.

In justice to his merits, and for your due edification, I wish that the duty of receiving this portrait had been assigned to one better equipped for the task, whilst I may plead that no more loyal and devoted friend of his could have been selected.

A strong feature in the character of General Munford is his abiding love for his fellow-man. Some time ago, on his return from Alabama, he wrote me telling of some members of my old company and relatives of mine in that State. He spoke in the kindest way of them, rejoicing at the success of many, and expressing the warmest feelings of sympathy for one who was deeply afflicted. Only this morning I glanced over the letter. The sympathetic paragraph suggests—

Abou Ben Adhem.

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold–
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said:
‘What writest thou?’ The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answer'd, ‘The names of those who love the Lord.’
‘And is mine one?’ said Abou. ‘Nay, not so,’
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerily still; and said: “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men.”
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night,
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed whom the love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
November, 1864 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: