1,101 prisoners, among whom were two brigade commanders, whilst vast quantities of small arms and twenty-one standards fell into the hands of the victors.
The quantity of powder used in exploding the mine was not six tons, but 8,000 pounds. ‘The charge,’ says Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Pleasants
, of the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, the originator of the mine, in his report of the explosion, ‘consisted of three hundred and twenty kegs of powder, each containing about twenty-five pounds. It was placed in eight magazines, connected with each other by troughs half filled with powder.
These troughs from the lateral galleries met at the inner end of the main one, and from this point I had three lines of fuses for a distance of 98 feet. Not having fuses as long as required, two pieces had to be spliced together to make the required length of each of the lines.’
In the concluding paragraph of this report Colonel Pleasants
I stood on top of our breastworks and witnessed the effect of the explosion on the enemy.
It so completely paralyzed them that the breach was practically four or five hundred yards in breadth.
The rebels in the forts, both on the right and left of the explosion, left their works, and for over an hour not a shot was fired by their artillery.
There was no fire from infantry from the front for at least half an hour; none from the left for twenty minutes, and but few shots from the right.
Major W. H. Powell
, acting aide-de-camp
of General Ledlie
, the commander of the first division of the Ninth corps, at the time of the explosion, in his article entitled ‘The Tragedy of the Crater,’ published in the September (1887) number of the Century
I returned immediately, and just as I arrived in rear of the first division the mine was sprung.
It was a magnificent spectacle, and as the mass of earth went up into the air, carrying with it men, guns, carriages and timbers, and spread out like an immense cloud as it reached its altitude, so close were the Union lines that the mass appeared as if it would descend immediately upon the troops waiting to make the charge.
This caused them to break and scatter to the rear, and about ten minutes were consumed in reforming for the attack.
Not much was lost by this delay, however, as it took nearly that time for the cloud of dust to pass off. * * *
Little did those men anticipate what they would see upon arriving