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And blow up the hostile salient.

Submitted to Burnside, the venture was approved, and at 12 o'clock next day, Pleasants began work, selecting for the service his own regiment, the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania, most of whom were miners from the Schuylkill region. But though Burnside approved, the Commanding General of the Army of the Potomac and the military engineers regarded the scheme from the first with ill-concealed derision. Meade and his Chief of Engineers, Duane, declared that it was “all clap trap and nonsense” --that the Confederates were certain to discover the enterprise — that working parties would be smothered for lack of air or crushed by the falling earth — finally, as an unanswerable argument, that a mine of such length had never been excavated in military operations. “I found it impossible to get assistance from anybody,” says Pleasants, with an indignation almost pathetic; “I had to do all the work myself.” Day after day, night after night, toiling laboriously, he came out of the bowels of the earth only to find himself in the cold shade of official indifference; yet the undaunted spirit of the man refused to yield his undertaking. Mining picks were denied him, but he straightened out his army picks and delved on; he [279] could get no lumber for supports to his gallery, but he tore down an old bridge in rear of the lines and utilized that; barrows were wanting, in which to remove the earth taken from the mine, but he bound old cracker-boxes with hoops of iron wrenched from the pork-barrels and used them instead; above all, he needed an accurate instrument to make the necessary triangulations, and although there was a new one at army headquarters, he was forced to send to Washington for an old-fashioned theodolite, and make that answer his purpose.

Despite all this and more, he persevered, working on until

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