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[29]

Colonel Thomas' last answer giving no definite information as to the position of his troops in advance of the Confederate works, and the court manifestly having a doubt as to his troops having gone to the west of these works at all, he is asked the pointed question: ‘Did you get beyond the enemy's line?’ He replies: ‘I did, sir; I led a charge which was not successful. The moment I reached the first brigade I started out the Thirty-first colored regiment, which was in front, but it lost its three ranking officers in getting in position, and did not go out well.’ The witness's answer, whilst responsive to the question, like his answer to the preceding question, gives no light as to the point west of the Confederate works reached by his command.

The next witness, however, testifies very clearly, and probably gives the most accurate information as to the position reached by the troops that moved forward west of the Confederate works. The witness is Lieutenant-Colonel Charles S. Russell, commanding the Twenty-eighth U. S. colored troops, of Colonel Thomas' brigade. Being asked the question ‘How far in advance did you get towards Cemetery Hill?’ he replies: ‘Not exceeding fifty yards. We were driven back.’

By what?

is the next question asked this witness. He replies: ‘I should judge by about two or four hundred men (infantry), which rose from a little ravine and charged us. Being all mixed up and in confusion, and new troops, we had to come back.’

The witness is in error as to the number of the Confederates who ‘rose up from the little ravine,’ as they were the men of the Virginia brigade, whose number was approximated by General Griffin, when he said: ‘Five or six hundred men were all we could see. I did not see either the right or the left of the line. I saw the centre of the line as it appeared to me. It was a good line of battle.’

Of the condition of things in the Crater and in trenches when the three white divisions had entered the Confederate works and the colored division was about to go in, about 7 o'clock in the morning, General Turner, who commanded a division of the Eighteenth (Ord's) corps, gives a graphic description in his testimony before the committee. He says:

‘When the head of my column reached the point at which our assaulting column had passed through our lines, it was, as near as I recollect, about 7 o'clock. I jumped up on a parapet to observe what was going on. Immediately in front of me lay the Crater, about ’

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Cemetery Hill (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)

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H. G. Thomas (2)
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