Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 30.djvu/157

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.

Set-en Days 9 .Battles Around Richmond. 149

man, and a dark blanket, with " P. R." in the centre, that served me in good stead for the rest of the war, and went home with me from Appomattox.

As the Federals had destroyed the bridges over the Chickahominy, we were detained this day (Saturday, June 28th), and Sunday, too, in reconstructing them. It must be premised that at this stage of the \var we had no regular pioneer corps, and bridges were built for General Jackson's command by detailed men under Captain Mason, an old railroad contractor. It was he of whom it is said that on one occasion, when General Jackson told him he would soon send him drawings for a certain bridge, which drawings his engineer officer was making, he replied: " Never mind about the ' picters,' General; the bridge is ready." Although he did not know much about "picters, he had had considerable experience in bridge-building. The bridge was finished Sunday, but not in time for us to cross in the face of the enemy and assist Magruder in his fight that afternoon near Savage Station. Next morning we were over bright and early, passed through Savage Station, where the hospitals were filled with Federal wounded, and marched on to White Oak Swamp. Here was a most unaccountable delay. Of course, the bridge had been destroyed, and it was not possible to cross without one, for General Franklin, commanding McClellan's rear guard, had lined the hills with cannon, supported by infantry, and an artillery duel went on all day across the swamp, but that did no good and little harm. Here we lay from about noon doing nothing but chafing under the delay, which has never been satisfactorily explained. Jackson's staff officers attributed it to his own physical fatigue, saying that he went to sleep and they could not arouse him, but I have never un- derstood why the army could not have marched a little farther up the swamp to the right and forced a crossing at Brackett's Ford, even in the face of the enemy. There was undoubtedly much won- dering and objurgation. " Old Jack " certainly did not come up to the Valley.

We had to lie there all day and let Longstreet and A. P. Hill fight the notable battle of Glendale, or Frazier's farm, on that mem- orable Monday, June 3Oth, without our assistance, which aid would have insured an early victory and perhaps destroyed half of Mc- Clellan's army, the leading corps having already gone on to Malvern Hill. Why the troops on the extreme right did not come to their assistance Magruder, Holmes, and Huger it is not for me to say. I am writing only as to my own experience. Perhaps the detour was