Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/365

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Graphic Account of Battle of Crater. 361

own in which was the fort subsequently called the "Crater" and then occupied by the enemy.



As we came out of the covered way we were met by General Mahone, himself on foot, who called the officers to him and ex- plained the situation and gave us orders for the fight. He informed us that the brigades of Virginians and Georgians had successfully charged and taken the works on the left of the fort, but that the fort was still in possession of the enemy, as was also a part of the works on the right of it, and that we of the Alabama brigade were expected to storm and capture the fort, as we were the last of the reserves. He directed us to move up the ravine as far as we could walk unseen by the enemy, and then to get down and crawl still further up until we were immediately in front of the fort, then to order the men to lie down on the ground until our artillery in our rear could draw the fire of the enemy's artillery, which was posted on a ridge beyond their main line and covering the fort.

When this was accomplished our artillery would cease firing, and then we should rise up and move forward in a stooping posture at "trail arms," with bayonets fixed, and should not yell or fire a gun until we drew the fire of the infantry in the fort, and the enemy's main lines, and then we should charge at a "double quick," so as to get under the walls of the fort before the enemy could fire their park of some fifty pieces of artillery, stationed on the hill beyond their works. He further informed us that he had ordered our men who then occupied the works on either side of the fort to fire at the enemy when they should show themselves above the top of the fort or along their main line, so as to shield us as much as possible from their fire. As we were leaving him, he said : ' 'General Lee is watch- ing the result of your charge."

The officers then returned to their places in line and ordered the men to load and fix bayonets. Immediately the brigade moved up the ravine as ordered. As we started, a soldier, worse disfigured by dirt, powder and smoke than any I had before seen, came up by my side and said: "Captain, can I go into this charge with you ?"

I replied: "Yes. Who are you?" He said: "lam (I have

forgotten his name) and I belong to South Carolina Regiment

was blown up in that fort and I want to even up with them.