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[18] inwards, and neither threats nor entreaties could get them up into line again. In vain was the cry raised that all would be killed if captured with negro soldiers; they would not stand up. From this time on the fire was kept up, mainly by the colored troops and officers handling muskets. A few Indians, of the First Michigan Sharpshooters, did splendid work. Some of them were mortally wounded, and drawing their blouses over their faces, they chanted a death-song and died—four of them in a group. An attempt had been made to dig a trench through the side of the crater towards the Union line, but the rebs got the range of that hole and plugged the bullets into it so thick and fast that no one would work in it. Of the men of my company who had rallied with me, all but one, a sergeant, lay dead or dying. The troops seemed utterly apathetic and indifferent. The killing of a comrade by their very sides would not rouse them in the least. Between 1 and 2 o'clock in the afternoon our men in the ditch, outside the crater, had expended all their ammunition, and were quickly captured. Then the rebels planted their battle flags on the edge of the crater, front and both flanks, not six feet from our men. They quickly pulled them back, but we knew that they were there, just on the other side of the clay bank. Muskets, with bayonets, were pitched back and forth, harpoon style. In this last movement the Confederates exposed themselves most fearlessly, and had all our men stood up at that time, the rebel loss would have been much more severe. I have good reason to believe that my own revolver did some effective work at this point.

Here ends Lieutenant Bowley's account of what was transpiring in the Crater, and I will resume the narrative from our standpoint.

It is now about one o'clock. We receive another order to keep the enemy's heads down. A charge is about to be made, this time by the Alabama brigade, General Saunders, who form in the ravine from which the Virginians had charged, but farther south and accordingly more nearly opposite the Crater. The charge is successful—those who witnessed it say it was splendidly executed. The works are surrendered, and the prisoners pour out, making their way back, however, under a severe fire from their own batteries, some of them falling on the way.

What was here transpiring those of us in the breastworks to the north of the Crater could not see, but we immediately knew the result of the charge.

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William H. Saunders (1)
Freeman S. Bowley (1)
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