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[288]

Then Meade's patience seems fairly to have broken down. “What do you mean by hard work to take the crest?” he asks,

I understand not a man has advanced beyond the enemy's line which you occupied immediately after exploding the mine. Do you mean to say your officers and men will not obey your orders to advance? If not, what is the obstacle? I wish to know the truth, and desire an immediate answer.

George G. Meade, Major-General.

To which Burnside, in hot wrath, straight-way replied:

headquarters Ninth corps, 7.35 A. M.
General Meade:
Your dispatch by Captain Jay received. The main body of General Potter's division is beyond the Crater.

I do not mean to say that my officers and men will not obey my orders to advance. I mean to say that it is very hard to advance to the crest. I have never in any report said anything different from what I conceived to be the truth. Were it not insubordinate, I would say that the latter remark of your note was unofficerlike and ungentlemanly.

A. E. Burnside, Major-General.

Griffin, it is true, in obedience to orders to advance straight for Cemetery Hill, had during this time attempted several charges from his position north of the Crater, but his men displayed little spirit, and, breaking speedily under the fire of the artillery, sought their old shelter behind the traverses and covered ways.1 The rest of Potter's division moved out but slowly, and it was fully 8 o'clock--2more than three hours after the explosion — when Ferrero's Negro Division, the men beyond question inflamed with drink,3 burst from the advanced lines, cheering vehemently, passed at a double-quick over the crest under a heavy fire, and rushing with scarce a check over the heads of the white troops in the Crater, spread to their right, capturing more than two hundred prisoners and one stand of colors.4 At the same moment, Turner of the Tenth corps pushed forward a brigade over the Ninth corps parapets, seized the Confederate line still further to the north, and quickly disposed the remaining brigades of his division to confirm his success.5


1 Report on the Conduct of the War (1865), vol. i, pp. 96, 228 (Meade's dispatch, 8 A, M. July 30th).

2 Ib., pp. 103, 195, 196.

3 There are many living officers and men, myself among the number, who will testify to this.

4 Ib., pp. 96, 109.

5 General Turner's statement.--Ib., p. 121.

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