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Charged the Crater.

The Georgians, who did not charge with our Virginia brigade, formed in column of regiments, and at 11 o'clock A. M. charged the Crater; but they were met by such a withering fire that they recoiled with heavy slaughter. Their casualties numbered 231.

Our bloody work was all done so quickly that I had scarcely an idea of the time it required to accomplish it. It was over, I am sure, about noon, and then for the first time I realized the oppression of the scorching rays of that July sun, under whose burning glow many sank from exhaustion. Our brigade captured fifteen battle-flags, and our own regiment owned five of the seven that I had counted in its front. The Georgians captured one. How many men rallied to each of these flags I can only estimate from the figures above given. The 9th corps had been recently recruited, and its regiments must have been well up towards a thousand. General Burnside said he put every single man into action; so, from these facts and the captured flags, the reader may form a correct idea of [83] the number we had overcome. In that supreme moment, when exulting over a great victory, as our eyes fell upon the bleeding comrades around us, our hearts sickened within for those who lay dead, dying, wounded and writhing in agonies of pain.

The wonderful triumph had been won at the price of the blood of the bravest and best and truest. Old Co. F, of Norfolk, Va., carried in twelve men, all of whom was killed or wounded; the 6th regiment, to which it was attached, carried in ninety-eight men, and mustered ten for duty at this time; the sharpshooters carried in eighty men, and sixteen remained for duty. Our regiment, the 61st, lost nineteen killed and forty-three wounded; the 12th regiment lost twelve killed and twenty-six wounded; the 16th lost twenty-one killed and eighteen wounded, and the 41st regiment lost thirteen killed and thirty-one wounded. Colonel Weisiger, commanding our brigade, was wounded and the command devolved upon Colonel Rogers. The total loss of the brigade was 258. There were many special acts of gallantry exhibited on this field, which I shall not stop to detail, for General Lee said: ‘All who charged from that vale crowned themselves heroes,’ and they need no encomiums from my feeble pen.

Although our principal task was finished at noontide, yet more heavy work remained to be done to fully re-establish our lines. Brigadier-General Bartlett, with about 600 men, was cooped up in the Crater, and their capture was the crowning event of the bloody drama.

Our wounded men were sent to the field hospital as fast as possible, and after piling the enemy's dead on each side of the trenches, to make a clear pass-way, the ranks of our brigade were closed up in proper order.

General Mahone carefully examined the lines, and ordered us to keep a sharp fire on the enemy's works in front to keep them close, and on the Crater to our right to prevent Bartlett's escape, as our position commanded his rear, while Saunders' Alabama Brigade formed in the valley and charged.

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Norfolk (Virginia, United States) (1)

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W. F. Bartlett (2)
D. A. Weisiger (1)
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Louis Rogers (1)
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R. E. Lee (1)
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