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[4] and about half a mile southeast from Blandford Cemetery, being located a short distance beyond our city limits, in the county of Prince George, on the farm of Mr. T. R. Griffith.

Some time during the night preceding the explosion, our brigade received orders to be ‘ready to move at a moment's warning,’ which, of course, indicated that something was expected requiring a movement of the command.

It was well understood that the enemy were mining somewhere on our line, but exactly at what point was not known. A counter-mine was made by the Confederates several hundred yards to the right of the Crater, near the point at which the Confederate breastworks cross the Jerusalem plank-road, as may be seen at this time. At the Elliott salient a counter-mine was begun, but was abandoned for want of proper tools.

The explosion took place between daybreak and sunrise (4:44 A. M. was the exact time), and the impression made upon those hearing it may be likened to that of a nearly simultaneous discharge of several pieces of artillery. The concussion of the atmosphere was unusual. We were all soon in the breastworks. Something extraordinary, we knew, had happened. Soon a report came down the line from the direction of the scene of action that a mine had been exploded and a part of our works blown up and was occupied by the enemy.

A little after six o'clock, when the Crater had been in the enemy's possession for more than an hour, a staff officer rides rapidly past us; General Mahone's headquarters, which were at the Branch House, just west of the Willcox farm, is the point of destination of this staff-officer, who is Colonel Charles S. Venable, aide-de-camp to General Lee. Colonel Venable is bearing a message to General Mahone, who was then, as he had been since the wounding of General Longstreet at the battle of the Wilderness, in command of Anderson's division, which was composed of the brigades of General William Mahone (Virginians), General A. R. Wright (Georgians), General J. C. C. Saunders (Alabamians), General N. H. Harris (Mississippians), and General Joseph Finegan (Floridians).

The message borne to General Mahone is to send at once two of his brigades to the support of General Bushrod R. Johnson, who commanded that part of the Confederate lines embracing the works now in the enemy's hands.

Very soon, under orders received, the men of Mahone's brigade of Virginians and Wright's brigade of Georgians, began to drop back from their places in the breastworks, one by one, into the cornfield in

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Prince Georges (Maryland, United States) (1)

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