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A brutal and inhuman Slaughter.

I never felt more like fighting in my life. Our comrades had been slaughtered in a most inhuman and brutal manner, and slaves were trampling over their mangled and bleeding corpses. Revenge must have fired every heart and strung every arm with nerves of steel for the Herculean task of blood. We filed up a ditch, which had been dug for a safe ingress and egress to and from the earthworks, until we reached the vale between the elevation on which the breastworks were located and the one on the banks of the little stream just mentioned-within two hundred yards of the enemy. The ill-fated battery, which had been demolished by the explosion, projected from the line of earthworks for the infantry at an acute angle, and was called Elliott's Salient. It overlooked the enemy's line of works, which were on the northeastern slope of the same elevation, about 100 yards distant.

The ‘Crater,’ or excavation caused by the explosion, was about twenty-five feet deep, sixty feet wide and 150 feet long, with its crest about twelve feet above the ground. About seventy-five feet in rear of the line of earthworks there was a wide ditch with the bank thrown up on the side next to the fortifications. This was constructed to protect parties carrying ammunition and rations to the troops.

Between this irregular and ungraded embankment and the main line the troops had dug numerous caves, in which they slept at night to be protected from the mortar shells that every evening traced sparkling circles in death search, like shooting stars bespangling the heavens with meteoric beauty.

The embankment, from the bottom of the ditch, was about ten feet high, and commanded the outer or main line. The space from the outside of the fortifications to the inner edge of the ditch was probably more than 100 feet wide.

The Crater and a space of about 200 yards on the north were literally crammed with the enemy's troops.

Official report shows that five army corps were massed to aid in the assault of the lines broken by the explosion, which reported present for duty on the 31st of July, the day after the battle, as follows: [81]

Second Corps,14,612
Fifth Corps,16,529
Ninth Corps,10,700
Tenth Corps,13,362
Eighteenth Corps,11,333
Add to these the losses on the 30th, as reported in the War Records, Series 1, Volume XI, Part 1, page 167,4,400
Making a total of70,936

This army held the inner and outer line of the Confederate works from a few minutes after the explosion until about 8:45 o'clock A. M. with only artillery between it and the coveted city of Petersburg.

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