ling swarm as grew the wonder at delay. Nor was the cause of hindrance easy to ascertain; for should it prove that the fuze was still alight, burning but slowly, to enter the mine was certain death. Thus time dragged slowly on, telegram upon telegram of inquiry meanwhile pouring in from Meade, who, unmindful of the dictum of Napoleon, that "in assaults a general should be with his troops," had fixed his headquarters full a mile away.* But these were all unheeded, for Burnside knew not what to answer.
Then it was that two brave men, whose names should be mentioned with respect wherever courage is honored, Lieutenant Jacob Douty and Sergeant Henry Rees, both of the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania, volunteered for the perilous service and entered the mine. Crawling on their hands and knees, groping in utter darkness, they found that the fuze had gone out about fifty feet from the mouth of the main gallery, relighted it, and retired. "In eleven minutes now the mine will explode," Pleasants reports to Burnside at thirty-three minutes past four, and a small group of officers of the Forty-eighth, standing upon the slope of the main parapets, anxiously await the result.
"It lacks a minute yet," says Pleasants, looking at his watch.
"Not a second," cries Douty,†
"FOR THERE SHE GOES."
A slight tremor of the earth for a second, then the rocking as of an earthquake, and with a tremendous burst which rent the sleeping hills beyond, a vast column of earth and smoke shoots upward to a great height, its dark sides flashing out sparks of fire, hangs poised for a moment in mid-air, and then hurtling downward with a roaring sound showers of stones, broken timbers, and blackened human limbs, subsides the gloomy pall of darkening smoke flushing to an angry crimson as it floats away to meet the morning sun.
PLEASANTS HAS DONE HIS WORK WITH TERRIBLE COMPLETENESS,
for now the site of the Elliott Salient is marked by a horrid chasm, one hundred and thirty-five feet in length, ninety-seven feet in breadth, and thirty feet deep, and its brave garrison, all asleep, save the guards, when thus surprised by sudden death, lie buried
.* Meade's own statement—Report on the Conduct of the War (1866), vol.i, p.72. Cf. also General Warren's statement—Ib., p.169.† Grant and His Campaigns, p.369.