Southern Historical Society Papers.

Vol. XVIII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1890.

The battle of the Crater, July 30, 1864.

An Address delivered before the A. P. Hill Camp of Confederate Veterans, of Petersburg, Va., in that city, on the 24th of June, 1890.

by Comrade George S. Bernard.

It was my fortune as a member of the Petersburg Riflemen, Company E, Twelfth Virginia Infantry, General William Mahone's brigade, to take part in the memorable engagement known as ‘The Battle of the Crater,’ and it is now proposed to give some account of the action—to tell a war story from the standpoint of a high private in the rear rank, supplementing information within my personal knowledge with some material drawn from other sources believed to be reliable—this being necessary to a proper understanding of what will be told.

On Saturday morning, the 30th of July, 1864, when the mine under the angle in the Confederate's works around Petersburg, known as ‘Elliott's sailent,’ was exploded, blowing up, or burying under the debris of earth and timber, between two hundred and fifty and three hundred officers and men occupying the works at this point, making therein a huge chasm, described in the report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War as ‘from 150 to 200 feet in length, about 60 in width, and from 25 to 30 feet in depth, and aptly called “a crater,” from its resemblance to the mouth of a volcano, Mahone's brigade was occupying the breastworks on the Willcox farm, immediately south of our city’—say about a point which would be reached by a prolongation of Adams street. The site of the ‘Crater,’ as is well known probably to all now present, is east of the Jerusalem plankroad

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