brigade numbering about eight hundred men dashed forward, in tile manner that has been described, to engage in what every man knew would be a death-struggle for their possession.
's congratulatory order places the flags captured at seventeen; Captain McCabe
gives twenty-one as the number of standards captured.
We will take General Mahone
's figures and estimate each of the seventeen regiments represented by the seventeen flags as containing two hundred and fifty men—a fair average for a veteran regiment in the Federal
army at that time.
This done, and we have a force of 4,250 men.
But this average is manifestly too small, when we consider the statement of Colonel Henry G. Thomas
, who commanded the Second brigade of the Fourth division (Ferrero
's) of the Ninth corps, made in his article in the September number, 1887, of the Century
, entitled ‘The Colored Troops at Petersburg
,’ in which he says:
There was but one division of colored troops in the Army of the Potomac—the Fourth division of the Ninth corps—organnized as follows: * * * *
This made a division of only nine regiments, divided into two brigades, yet it was numerically a large division.
The regiments were entirely full, and a colored deserter was a thing unknown.
On the day of the action the division numbered 4,300, of which 2,000 belonged to Seigfried's brigade and 2,300 to mine.
To assume that the number of flags captured represented the total number of regiments at the place of capture leads to a very erroneous result.
So far from there being only seventeen regiments in our works, there were probably more than double this number.
There went into our works three white divisions, the First (Ledlie
's), the Second (Potter
's), and the Third (Wilcox
's), of the Ninth (Burnside
) corps, about four regiments excepted, and after these the colored division of General Ferrero
This appears from the following paragraph in the testimony of Lieutenant-Colonel Charles G. Loring
, of General Burnside
's staff, before the Committee
on the Conduct of the War
General Ledlie's division was to go in first; the whole of that division went into the Crater, or lines immediately adjoining.
Genera Potter's division was to go in next, but to go in on the right of