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The sharpshooters of Mahone's old Brigade at the Crater. [from the Richmond, Va., Dispatch, Februry 3, 1901.]

Weldon, N. C., January 30, 1901.
To the Editor of the Dispatch:
Referring to your editorial of the 29th with reference to the Battle of the Crater, etc., I would say the battalion of sharpshooters was made from a ‘detail’ from all regiments of Mahone's (old) brigade—or D. A. Weisiger's brigade—and was as strong, numerically, as any regiment in the brigade.

The evening before the Battle of the Crater the Sixth Virginia Regiment relieved the sharpshooters, and the sharpshooters filled the gap at Wilcox Farm vacated by the Sixth Virginia Regiment. Next morning—or the day of the Battle of the Crater—we were rushed from Wilcox's Farm and took position in front of the Crater, in brigade reverse form—that is to say, the Twelfth Virginia Regiment took the ground nearest shore, and the brigade was filed [308] in until the sharpshooters occupied the extreme right of the brigade—when, in natural order, the Twelfth Virginia should have gone head foremost, and should have been on the extreme right. As it was the sharpshooters were on the extreme right of the Sixteenth Virginia Regiment. I was the sergeant-major, and was next to the sharpshooters. We had no order to charge that I ever heard; but, seeing a column of negro soldiers being pushed over the breast-works and lodged in a ditch, we, one and all, said that if we did not go now we would all fall later, and we started in zigzag shape. Soon all minor officers said forward, and we rushed up to the Crater. We were not long enough to cover the whole ground, but the sharpshooters lodged half-way around the Crater, and the Sixteenth Virginia was next on their left. As sergeant-major of the Sixteenth Virginia Regiment, I counted and reported ninety-six men in line, and when the battle was over we had forty-eight men. Captain Wallace Broadbent, Company E, Sixteenth Virginia Regiment (Sussex Rifles), Mahone's old brigade, was commander of the battallion of sharpshooters. He was killed by twelve or fifteen bayonet wounds through his body at the Battle of the Crater, and a more loveable man never lived. Ten days before this battle Captain Broadbent asked the writer to resign his place as sergeant-major of the Sixteenth Virginia Regiment and become adjutant of his battallion. This was under consideration when he went into the Battle of the Crater. The Sixteenth Virginia Regiment captured eleven flags, and the writer took from the body of a dead Federal officer a very handsome sword and gave it to General Mahone. The General had come into the trenches, and seemed to be about the happiest man I ever saw, for all things were going his way splendid. Handsome Wallace Broadbent, of Sussex county, Va., was commander of General Mahone's battalion of sharpshooters, and was killed by bayonet wounds at the Battle of the Crater. I feel sure I am right, and hope some Sussex old boy will help me out.

I have never heard of the escape of any member of the sharpshooters unhurt before. It was common property that all of then were killed or wounded. It was a bad day to get off unhurt, or out sound and well, for human blood was half-shoe deep in the trenches.

W. R. S.

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