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[371]

Our entire loss, 800 men; their loss ,5,000) five thousand. I have never seen such slaughter since the war commenced.

I will write more.

Your affectionate husband,


United States Christian commission, 500 H. Street, Washington, D. C. Camp Ninth Alabama Regiment, near Petersburg, Aug. 2, 1864.
My Dear Wife.—I wrote you a note yesterday while in our recaptured fortifications, informing you that I was not killed in our desperate fight on Saturday, the 30th ultimo, but gave you very little news otherwise. You must excuse its brevity, for considering the circumstances, I think I did well to write at all.

The enemy's line was only about seventy-five yards from ours, and we were shooting at each other at every opportunity, and the sand was flying over everything, and the general noise and confusion incident on such occasions will tender to keep me from writing more.

On the morning of the 30th, about an hour before day, we received orders to leave our camp and move up to our place in the breastworks (which was about one hundred yards distant), and to be prepared for an attack. Nothing unusual occurred. The skirmishing was about as usual, and so was the cannonading, until just about 5 A. M. The earth seemed to tremble, and the next instant there came a report that seemed to deafen all nature. Everything for awhile remained quiet, as if in wonder and astonishment at such an explosion; but 'twas only for a moment; then the artillery from each side would have drowned the report of the loudest thunderbolt. Then could be seen horsemen dashing to and fro, bearing dispatches and orders. Every man was at his post and ready for anything.

Soon after this we received information that Grant had sprung a mine under one of our forts, and a portion of our breastworks, down on the lines, about a mile to our left, and opposite the city, which was held by some South Carolinians, Georgians and Virginians. This scene considerably demoralized the troops nearest the fort and caused them to give way, and before the smoke from the explosion cleared away, the enemy, having their infantry massed,


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