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[206] the right of the Georgia Brigade would have been about ‘directly in front of,’ or to speak more accurately, directly in rear and west of the crater, and the first assault would probably have been more effective; but, made as the charge was, with the Virginia Brigade and only a part of the Georgia Brigade, together with some of Elliott's Brigade (which occupied the trenches immediately at, and on the right and left of, the crater at the time of the explosion), the assault, although brilliant, was not, in any sense, a complete triumph. Only the couple of hundred yards of the breastworks immediately to the north of the crater were recaptured. The crater itself was not, but was held by several hundred of the enemy for at least four hours longer, that is to say, until 1 o'clock P. M., when the final assault of the day, that made by the Alabama Brigade of Mahone's Division, supported by troops from General Bushrod Johnson's Division, resulted in its capture, and in the capture of the several hundred men then occupying it. This assault was made under the direction of General Mahone, after at least one unsuccessful assault by the Georgia Brigade, the assault of the Georgians being made about an hour after that of the Virginians.

To say that General Weisiger's ‘triumph was complete,’ and that ‘with his 800 men he killed, wounded and captured many thousands,’ and to make this statement without qualification, is to claim for the Virginia brigade and its commander, as their special work, what belongs to the whole of the Confederate forces engaged in the battle of the Crater.

In a congratulatory order issued by General Mahone to the Virginia, Alabama, and Georgia Brigades during the week following the engagement he stated that, with an effective force of less than 3,000 men and a casualty list of 598, they killed 700 of the enemy's people, wounded, by his own account, over 3,000, and captured 1,101 prisouers, embracing eighty-seven officers, seventeen stands of colors, two guerdons, and 1,916 stands of small arms, ‘deeds which,’ to use the language of the order, ‘entitle their banner to the inscription, “The Crater,” Petersburg, July 30, 1864.’

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William Mahone (3)
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