Thomas Taylor Munford

Thomas Taylor Munford was born on March 28,1831, in Richmond, Virginia. His father, Colonel George Wythe Munford, was for many years Secretary of the Commonwealth. His mother, Lucy Singleton Taylor, was related to President Benjamin Harrison. The younger Munford graduated from VMI in 1852. For a time after graduation, Munford engaged in general railroad work. Until the outbreak of the war, he was mainly occupied as a planter.

On May 8,1861, Munford was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 30th Virginia Mounted Infantry, later renumbered the 2nd Virginia Cavalry. Munford's "career as a cavalry officer was brilliant and notable," spanning the war literally from Manassas to Appomattox. At the First Battle of Bull Run he guarded the Confederate right flank with four companies of the 30th. Munford was promoted to full colonel of the 2nd to date from April 25, 1862. Munford led a two-regiment cavalry brigade attached to Ewell's division in Jackson's 1862 Valley campaign, eventually succeeding to the command of all of Jackson's cavalry. At Second Bull Run his cavalry made a successful surprise attack on Bristoe Station. He suffered two slight saber wounds at Second Bull Run and a slight musket wound at Turkey Ridge. During the Antietam campaign Munford temporarily commanded Robertson's brigade. At Brandy Station he led Fitzhugh Lee's brigade as senior colonel, but only arrived on the battlefield as the Union forces were retreating. Munford's gallantry at the Battle of Aldie was conspicuous; his three regiments took 138 prisoners. In regimental command, he fought at Gettysburg and in the Wilderness campaign of 1864- In November, 1864, upon the resignation of his brigade commander, Munford as senior colonel took over Wickham's brigade. In the spring of 1865, he was assigned the command of Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry division, which he led till war's end. At Appomattox Munford's troopers were able to slide around the Union left flank before the trap closed on the Confederate army. Refusing to surrender, he and his troopers escaped to Lynchburg, where the division disbanded.

With the war over Munford engaged in cotton planting at Lynchburg, Virginia, and in Uniontown, Alabama, and was vice president of the Lynchburg Iron, Steel & Mining Company. Colonel Munford also served two terms as president of the Board of Visitors of VMI and secretary of the Southern Historical Society. Munford died on February 27, 1918, in Uniontown. He is buried in Spring Hill Cemetery in Lynchburg.

CMH, CV, Heitman, Wright, and SHSP all list Munford as a general. CMH cites a November, 1864, appointment. In the OR for 1865 he is often mentioned as a general. In fact, his promotion to brigadier general had been recommended by General Robert E. Lee on March 23, 1865, to date from November, 1864. However, there is no record of President Davis acting upon the recommendation, and Munford himself, in his postwar application for pardon, stated that he never received a commission. Wright suggests that Munford was promoted by Major General Fitzhugh Lee, commander of the army's cavalry corps, in the last days of the war.

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Reference: More Generals in Gray. Bruce S. Allardice. A companion volume to Generals in Gray. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.