Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 02.djvu/304
Southern Historical Society Papers.
Scarcely less was the loss in other regiments. The Sharpshooters carried in 80 men and lost 64—among the slain their commander, William Broadbent, a man of prodigious strength and activity, who, leaping first over the works, fell pierced by eleven bayonet-wounds—a, simple captain, of whom we may say, as was said of Ridge: "No man died that day with more glory, yet many died and there was much glory."
Such was the battle of the Crater, which excited the liveliest satisfaction throughout the army and the country. Mahone was created Major-General from that date; Weisiger, who was wounded, Brigadier-General; Captain Girardey, of Mahone's staff, also Brigadier—the latter an extraordinary but just promotion, for he was a young officer whose talents and decisive vigor qualified him to conduct enterprises of the highest moment; yet fate willed that his career should be brief, for within a fortnight he fell in battle north of the James, his death dimming the joy of victory.
On the Federal side, crimination and recrimination followed what General Grant styled "this miserable failure." There was a Court of Inquiry, and a vast array of dismal testimony, which disclosed the fact that of four generals of division belonging to the assaulting corps, not one had followed his men into the Confederate lines.* Nay, that the very commander of the storming division, finding, like honest Nym, "the humor of the breach too hot," was at the crisis of the fight palpitating in a bomb-proof, beguiling a Michigan surgeon into giving him a drink of rum, on the plea that "he had the malaria, and had been struck by a spent ball"† legends of a hoary antiquity, whereof, let us humbly confess, we ourselves have heard.
Three weeks of comparative quiet followed along the Petersburg front, yet, during this time many brave men fell unnoticed in the trenches, for there was no change in the proximity of the hostile lines, and the dropping fire of the pickets by day, and fiery curves of mortar-shell by night, told that the portentous game of war still went on.
could not be withdrawn. The 41st Virginia lost one-fourth its number; the 61st within a fraction of half its number. The loss In the 16th was nearly as great as in the 6th proportionally, but I have been unable to get the exact figures in that regiment and in the 12th.
.* General Grant's statement—Report on the Conduct of the War (1865), vol.i, p.110. See also finding of Court of Inquiry—Ib.,p.216.† The testimony of Surgeon O. P. Chubb, 20th Michigan (Ib., p.191), and of Surgeon H. E. Smith, 27th Michigan (Ib.,p.206), is certainly very lively reading. Surgeon Smith is unable to say how often the doughty warriors, Ledlie and Ferrero, "smiled" at each other, for "I was not in the bomb-proof all the while that they were there. It was perfectly safe in there, but it might not have been outside. I had to go out to look after the wounded."— Ib.,p.207.