Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/363

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Graphic Account of Battle of Crater. 359

formed by General Lee that the brigade was his last available re- serve, and unless they recaptured the works he intended to reform it in person, and lead it. "Well," said one of the men, "if the old man comes down here, we will tie him to a sapling while we make the fight."

The gallant officer who has kindly furnished this valuable account, has made a valuable contribution to that history which will surely accord the credit due to all the gallant officers and men who partici- pated on this memorable occasion with Mahone's division.

Very respectfully,

JOHM W. DANIEL.

THE BATTLE OF THE "CRATER" AS I SAW IT.

On the night of the 2Qth of July, 1864, Wilcox's old brigade of Alabamians, at that time commanded by J. C. C. Saunders, which was one of the five brigades composing Mahone's (formerly An- derson's) division, was occupying the breastworks to the right of Petersburg at a point known as the Wilcox farm. The division consisted at the time of Wilcox's "old brigade" of Alabamians; Wright's Georgia brigade, Harris' Mississippi, Mahone's Virginia brigade and Perry's Florida brigade (by whom commanded at the time I fail to remember). All was quiet in our immediate front, but an incessant and rapid firing was going on to our left and immediately in front of Petersburg, where the main lines of the hostile armies were within eighty yards of each other. There was a rumor that the Federals were attempting to undermine our works and were keeping up this continuous fire to shield their op- erations. The Confederate army had dug countermine in front of our works at several points, but failed to sink them sufficiently deep to intercept the enemy and thwart their efforts, as was subse- quently proven.

EXPLOSION OF THE MINE AT "THE CRATER" THE NIGHT OF

JULY 30TH.

During the night of the 29th (I think about 2 o'clock) we re- ceived orders to get our men under arms and ready for action at a moment's notice, which convinced us that General Lee had in- formation of which we were ignorant. We remained thus until between daybreak and sunrise of the 3Oth of July, when suddenly the quiet and suspense was broken by a terrific explosion on our