Battle of White Oak Swamp Bridge

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“Battle of White Oak Swamp Bridge, Monday June 30th, 1862- Ayres’s, Mott’s and Randall’s batteries checking the advance of the Confederates. After the battle of Savage’s Station the Federals continued on their retreat, and by eight o’clock on the morning of June 30th, 1862, they had crossed White Oak Swamp and Creek, after destroying the bridge over the latter and warding off the repeated attacks to which they were subjected throughout the night. After crossing White Oak Creek the Federals had quickly formed a new line of battle at Willis Church, General Hancock’s forces being on the extreme right, while Porter’s occupied the left, and Heintzelman’s and Sumner’s the intervening space. Jackson’s advance was checked by the destruction of the bridge, and when he reached the creek, at about noon, he found the approaches well defended by artillery. Jackson opened upon Hancock’s troops, and made repeated efforts to rebuild the bridge under cover of his heavy artillery, but he was every time repulsed. While this was going on Longstreet and Hill had come upon a Federal force at a place two miles away, called Frazier’s Farm. Here stood Sumner and Hooker, on the extreme right, McCall somewhat in advance toward the centre and Kearny on the extreme left. When Longstreet found this force arrayed against him he waited for re-enforcements to come up, and it was four o’clock when he commenced the attack. McCall’s left was first assailed by Kenper’s brigade, which was met by the Pennsylvania Reserves under Colonel Simmons, who, after a bitter conflict, drove the Confederates into the woods with a loss of 250 killed and wounded and about 200 prisoners. Fresh troops then enabled the Confederates to drive back the Federals, who in turn lost heavily. Longstreet and Hill now pressed on, and the conflict became a severe one along the entire front. One point, then another, was vainly tried in the determined effort to break the Federal line. At length Wilcox’s Alabama Brigade rushed across an open field upon McCall’s left, directly against Randall’s battery, which centered upon the Confederates a most galling fire. Nothing daunted, they moved on, and finally engaging in a desperate hand-to-hand fight, first captured Cooper’s battery, and afterward Randall’s battery, which had been doing such terrible execution. A charge was then ordered for the recapture of the guns. The Confederates bravely met the severe attacks that followed. A still more desperate hand-to-hand struggle took place for the possession of the lost batteries, which were finally recaptured. By dark the Confederates had retired into the woods, and the Federals remained on that portion of the field which they had lost earlier in the action. The Federal loss was about 1,800 killed and wounded, whilst that of the Confederates was over 2,000. Colonel Simmons and General Meade were both severely wounded, while General McCall was a made prisoner.” —Leslie, 1896


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