I did not see them and I do not know how many of them went into the Crater.
I simply saw the head of the column going in. I understood that they all went into the enemy's lines; but I cannot say positively about that.
General Wilcox's division also went in at the same place where General Ledlie's division went in. I think four of his regiments—I am not sure of the number—failed to get in. In starting from our line they bore off too much to the left and came back to our own line, and did not go in, I think that with that exception the whole of General Wilcox's division went into the enemy's lines.
The regiments of his division went in at different times, not as a division, but disjointedly.
And at half-past 7, about two hours and a half after the mine exploded, the whole of the colored division went in at the same point.
If the three white divisions numbered each nine regiments (the number of the regiments in the colored division), they aggregated twenty-seven regiments.
Deduct the four regiments of Wilcox
's division, referred to by Colonel Loring
, allow two hundred and fifty men to each of the twenty-four remaining regiments, and we have 6,000 men. To these add the 4,300 colored troops, and there was an aggregate of 10,300 men!
And this without counting a brigade of General Turner
's division of the Eighteenth corps, which, according to his testimony before the Committee
on the Conduct of the War
, took possession of about one hundred yards of our works to the north of the Crater.
, in his testimony before the committee, by implication, puts the number of men who went into the Confederate
works at 10,000 or 12,000, when he says:
The ground to the left and front of the mine was marshy and covered by bushes and trees.
No preparations had been made for our troops to pass out to our right or left.
They could only get out by a single long trench or covered way; so that in the slow process of getting 10,000 or 12,000 men up through this narrow space and through a single opening the enemy had an opportunity to make preparations to meet them.
All this produced delay.
With facts and figures like these to sustain the assertion, we are warranted in stating that the force against which our little band of about eight hundred Virginians
was hurled, outnumbered their assailants more than ten to one!