in the combined attack upon McClellan
, that resulted in the seven days fight around this historic city, Colonel Munford
's regiment accompanied his command, and participated, as far as the nature of the densely wooded country would permit, in the fights around Richmond
At White Oak Swamp
, where Jackson
was detained a whole day, while Longstreet
and A. P. Hill
were delivering the fearful battle of Frazier's Farm
, Colonel Munford
was called upon to perform one of those difficult tasks that often fall to the lot of this arm of the service.
As the part he performed that day has been misunderstood and erroneous impressions prevail as to the cause of Jackson
's delay at White Oak Swamp
, let me, in the fewest words possible, give the exact situation.
engaged the Federal
forces on the afternoon of the 29th of June, 1862, Jackson
's forces were rebuilding Grape Vine Bridge, and only succeeded in crossing the Chickahominy
after darkness had fallen.
On reaching White Oak Swamp
on the 30th, he ordered Munford
to cross the stream, notwithstanding the enemy had torn up the bridge and planted their artillery so as to command the crossing.
brought up two batteries of artillery and opened on the enemy.
's leading squadron moved across under almost insuperable difficulties.
The regiment soon followed, charging the Federal
batteries, but were repulsed by the infantry line of battle.
moved down the stream, and recrossed with great difficulty by a cow-path.
He informed General Jackson
that the infantry could cross below the bridge, but the engineers thought that they could cross better above it. A division of infantry was therefore put in above, but, after wasting hours of valuable time, failed to effect a crossing.
For an interesting page of the chapter of accidents that followed us from Gaines' Mill
,’ see the letter of General Munford
on page 80 of the Camnpaigns of Stuart
, by H. B. McClellan
On page 466 of Dabney's Life of Jackson
, we find these significant words: ‘Two columns pushed with determination across the two fords, at which the cavalry of Munford
passed over and returned—the one in the centre, and the other at the left—and protected in their outset by the oblique fire of a powerful artillery, so well posted on the right, would not have failed to dislodge Franklin
from a position already half lost.
The list of casualties would have indeed been larger than that presented on the 30th, of one cannoneer mortally wounded.
But how much shorter would have been the bloody list filled up the next day at Malvern Hill