Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 18.djvu/30

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

seventy-five yards distant. The men were in it and around it in great confusion; they were lying down, seeking shelter from the fire of the enemy, which at that time had become exceedingly warm. The enemy had succeeding in getting a cross fire of artillery and and musketry over the ground lying between our line and the Crater.

 * * *  My idea was that the 9th corps would penetrate the enemy's line and double them up to the right and to the left, and then I was to pass out and cover the right flank of the assaulting column; but the enemy still held possession of their lines up to within one hundred yards of the Crater when I arrived, which surprised me. It left me no alternative of going out anywhere but directly opposite the Crater, where the 9th corps went out. I could see no movement taking place beyond the Crater towards Cemetery Hill  * * * The troops lay very thick in and around the Crater, evidently more than could find cover from the enemy's fire.

 * * *  The Crater was full of men; they were lying all around, and every point that would give cover to a man was occupied. There was no movement towards Cemetery Hill; the troops were all in confusion and lying down. I asked one or two officers there if an attempt had been made to move to Cemetery Hill. They said the attempt had been made, but it had failed. I then said, 'You ought to entrench your position here, and you have too many troops here already to intrench. There are so many troops here that they are in each other's way; they are only exposed to this terrific fire of the enemy,' which was then growing warmer and warmer, and was a very severe fire. While I was talking to an officer-we had sought shelter in the Crater-the head of the colored division appeared at the crest of the Crater, and the division commenced piling over into the Crater and passing across it on the other side as well as they could. I exclaimed, 'What are these men sent in here for? It is only adding confusion to the confusion which already exists.' The men literally came falling over into this Crater on their hands and knees; they were so thick in there that a man could not walk. Seeing that I was going to be covered up, and be entirely useless, I thought I would go out. As I had no control over these troops, and supposing there were officers in command, I said, 'If you can get these troops beyond this line so that I can get out, I will move my division right out and cover your right flank'; and I went back for the purpose of doing so. I met General Ord on our line at the head of my division. I said, 'General, unless a movement is made out of the Crater towards Cemetery Hill, it is murder to send