to strike the negro therewith, whilst the fellow with the gun deliberately reloaded it, and placing its muzzle close against the stomach of the poor negro, fired, at which the latter fell limp and lifeless at the feet of the two Confederates.
It was a brutal, horrible act, and those of us who witnessed it from our position in the trench a few feet away could but exclaim: ‘That is too bad!
It is shocking!’
Yet this, I have no doubt, from what I saw and afterwards heard, was but a sample of many other bloody tragedies during the first ten minutes after our men got into the trench, many of whom seemed infuriated at the idea of having to fight negroes.
Within these ten minutes the whole floor of the trench was strewn with the dead bodies of negroes, in some places in such numbers that it was difficult to make one's way along the trench without stepping upon them.
But the works are not yet ours.
To the north of the Crater and in the ditches immediately behind and west of it the Confederates
were in possession; but the Crater itself is held by a large number of the enemy—several hundred of them—not yet ready to surrender.
There were also some fifty yards of our works south of Crater in the enemy's possession.
To drive out these, about ten o'clock—a little more than an hour after the charge made by the Virginia
's brigade of Georgian's were ordered forward from the same ravine from which the Virginia
charged; but such was the severity of the fire the men of this gallant brigade were forced to oblique to the left and take shelter among the works now in the hands of the Virginians, thus failing in their attempt.
When this charge was about to be made, the Virginians in the trench were notified and directed to fire upon the enemy in their front as rapidly as possible, in the language of the order, ‘to keep their heads down’; an order which was obeyed with a will, as nearly every man standing in the trench was supplied with several guns—his own, and one or more of the hundreds of captured guns which lay all along the trench.
Not only when the charge was made, but all of the time after our men got in the trench did they fire from our breastworks at the enemy whenever they showed themselves along the crest or rim of the Crater, as they constantly did, or whenever they attempted to run the gauntlet from the Crater, across the field to their own works, a movement which was attempted by many and by some successfully.
About the crest of the Crater next to the Federal
lines might be seen sometimes a man from the outside climbing over to get within the Crater, and sometimes a man from the inside climbing over to get