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A great victory.

The heroic achievement of the artillery corps, in keeping this army checked until reinforcements arrived, deserve equal share in the great victory of that day.

Mahone's Old Brigade and part of the Georgia Brigade, deployed, covered the enemy's front from about the centre of the Crater to their right. The silken banners of the enemy proudly floated on the breezes, supported by countless bayonets glistening in the sunlight, might on an ordinary occasion have daunted our little band and made them forfeit a trial of arms; but they were desperate and determined, and reckoned not the hosts that confronted them. I recollect counting seven standards in front of our regiment alone, and said to my soldiers, ‘We must have those flags, boys!’ Our column was deployed in the valley before mentioned, in full view of these hostile thousands. As the soldiers filed into line, General Mahone walked from right to left, commanding the men to reserve their fire until they reached the brink of the ditch, and after delivering one volley to use the bayonet. Our line was hardly adjusted, and the Georgians had not finished deploying, when the division of negroes—the advance line of the enemy—made an attempt to rise from the ditch and charge. Just at that instant, about 8:45 o'clock, A. M., a counter charge was ordered. The men rushed forward, officers in front, with uncovered heads and waving hats, and grandly and beautifully swept onward over the intervening space, with muskets at trail. The enemy sent a storm of bullets in our ranks, and here and there a gallant fellow would fall, but the files [82] would close, still pressing onward, unwavering, into the jaws of death.

Was Cardigan's charge of the 600 more desperate, save that his was to defeat, Mahone's to victory.

The orders of General Mahone were obeyed to the very letter. The brink of the ditch was gained before a musket was discharged. The cry ‘No quarter’ greeted us, the one volley responded, and the bayonet was plied with such irresistible vigor that success was insured within a short space of time. Men fell dead in heaps, and human gore ran in streams that made the very earth mire beneath the tread of our victorious soldiers.

The rear ditch being ours, the men mounted the rugged embankments and hurled their foes from the front line up to the very mouth of the Crater.

A clipping headed ‘A Grand Spectacle,’ in the Saturday Blade, of Chicago, Ill., October 26, 1895, says: I asked an old soldier the other day what was the most interesting scene he had ever witnessed, and his reply was:

General William Mahone and his troops on dress parade at the Battle of the Crater. It was the grandest spectacle ever seen on a battlefield. Men were falling like leaves under the raking volleys of the enemy, but there was not a break in the line that was not instantly filled up with a calmness and a precision that were sublime!

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