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 hours later, Major Gibbes and Major Haskell moved their mortar batteries and dropped a number of balls in the crater and lines. In fifteen or twenty minutes after the explosion General Elliott came up through the crowded ditch, followed by Colonel Smith of the Twenty-sixth regiment, with a few of his men, and ordered the Twenty-sixth and Seventeenth to form a line on the crest of the hill, and charge the crater. He and a few men gallantly jumped up on the crest of the hill, about fifty yards of the crater, he pointed out the line, and was in less than five minutes shot down and brought back. The command then devolved on your Colonel, who countermanded the order to form on the crest of the hill, which was utterly impracticable, and formed some of the men in the ditches, which went to the rear and commanded some yards in the rear of the crater. Courier after courier was sent to the division commander, and one courier to the regiments on the right of the crater. I ordered Colonel Smith to take his regiment, with three companies of the Seventeenth, under Captain Crawford (which then were larger than the Twenty-sixth regiment) to form in the ravine in the rear of the crater, and cover up the gap, there to lie down and to rise up and fire when necessary, so as to prevent the enemy from rushing down the hill and getting in the rear of our lines. This order was promptly executed, and gave the remainder of the Seventeenth in the main trench more room to use their guns. The damage done — let the enemy tell. General Meade says the assault came principally from his right (our left) of the crater. The enemy brought guns from all points and threw shells into the crater. General Potter began his movement towards the crest, and was met by another force of the enemy, and was compelled to fall back. General Potter says: “The next fire I saw came from the right; there was a battery behind some timber, which it was very difficult for our batteries to reach. I ordered my own batteries to turn their whole attention to that one, but they apparently produced no effect.” Many officers testify that repeated assaults were made to secure the crest; some say they saw them make two distinct charges early in the morning, but were repelled by men who rose up in the ravine. One fixes the number of these men at 200, some as high as 500. These men who repelled these charges were the Seventeenth and part of the Twenty-Sixth. The negroes, numbering 4,300 muskets, under General Ferrero, rushed to the mine at 8 o'clock, and one distinct charge, as alleged, occurred soon after. Some of the officers allege their men got 200 yards towards the crest, which was 500 yards to the rear, but this is a clear
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