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[130] sank down in death. Any attempt to remove them would have been vain under that fife.

It was thus the battle raged from daylight until the arrival of Mahone's division, which, I think, was near 11 o'clock. The troops under Mahone were formed in the ravine in rear of Elliott's headquarters, extending from the covered way in a direction between the crater and the Plank road. New hope was inspired by the arrival of reinforcements, and not without good cause, for no sooner did Mahone's men emerge from that ravine at a double quick than did the immense mass in rear of the crater break, and without standing upon the order of their going, sought shelter in the cover of their main line. The fire of the artillery was increased, and as Mahone's men neared the crater, Wright's guns were turned upon the flying masses in front of the salient. The slaughter was terrific, and probably more men were killed in the retreat than in the advance. The victory was virtually won, but those of the enemy within the crater continued for sometime the desperate contest. In my opinion they remained in the crater more from fear of running the gauntlet to their own lines than from any hope of holding their position. At 1 o'clock P. M. the white flag was raised and the final surrender of the crater made.

From the time of the explosion until the charge of Mahone's division, the men of Elliott's brigade bore the brunt of the battle, and with a portion of Ransom's, were the only infantry troops that I saw opposing the advance of the enemy to Cemetery Hill and the Plank road, at least to the left of the crater. To the bravery and skilful handling of the brigade is due, more than to all other infantry troops, the credit of saving Petersburg on that day.

This account has been so hastily written, and is so disjointed that I fear it will not be very intelligible. Perhaps, however, you may extract a few grains of wheat from the chaff, and if anything I have said will aid you in giving a more correct account of that battle I shall be amply compensated for the time it has taken me to scratch it off.

I am, Colonel, very respectfully yours,

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