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[521] of the assaulting column followed, and that also took shelter in the great pit, and there an entire Federal division remained, as a confused mass, which its officers tried in vain to move forward, in face of the scattering fire that the Confederate infantry, now rushing in from all directions, poured into the crater.

Haskell's battery, the one nearest at hand on the plank road, was speedily moved forward and its fire was added to that of the musketry. Hamilton Chamberlayne, though sick in a near hospital, hastened to reinforce Haskell with his guns, while Wright and Langhorne, from the left. screened by a small body of pines, raked with canister, from their position in a salient, the ground between the crater and the Federal line of intrenchments, across which Burnside must send reinforcements. Grant's artillery showered shot and shell upon these Confederate batteries, but they stood bravely to their work. Burnside sent two more divisions to push forward the hesitating assault, but most of the men of these found refuge in the swarming mass that already nearly filled the bottom of the crater. Meade, watching from the rear, and learning, on demand, from Burnside the cause of this delay, excitedly asked: ‘Do you mean to say your officers and men will not obey your orders to advance?’ Burnside wrote reply: ‘I mean to say that it is very hard to advance to the crest.’

At 8 o'clock a negro division was sent forward to march over the white Federal soldiers in the crater. These quickly sought refuge in the adjacent, unoccupied Confederate rifle-pits. A division of the Tenth corps was now added to the assaulting column, which, encouraged by the power of numbers, was bracing itself for an advance to the Cemetery hill. At this juncture of affairs, General Lee, from beyond the Appomattox, arrived and took charge of the defense. Two of Hill's brigades were drawn from his right, and Mahone promptly ordered these to cover the breach; Pegram's battery came forward to join the combat; through the covered way, which led from the plank road to the ravine in front of the crater, Weisiger's brigade, of Mahone's division, rushed to the brink of the crater. The negro division fled from the rifle-pits, at sight of the charging Virginians, and leaped into the crater, followed by most of the other Federal troops that had ventured beyond it.

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Burnside (4)
William Mahone (2)
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A. R. Wright (1)
Daniel Adams Weisiger (1)
John Pegram (1)
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