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[86]

The negro prisoners were very much alarmed, and vociferously implored for their lives. One old cornfield chap exclaimed: ‘My God, massa, I nebber pinted a gun at a white man in all my life; dem nasty, stinking Yankees fotch us here, and we didn't want to come fus!’

The appearance of this rough, irregular hole beggars description. It was estimated that it contained 600 bodies. The importance of reconstructing this broken line of earthworks at once prevented the removal of all of these dead men, therefore 233 of the enemy's dead were buried as they had fallen, in one indiscriminate heap in the pit of the Crater. Spades were brought in, and the earth thrown from the sides of the excavation until they were covered a sufficient depth. By 3 o'clock P. M. all was over, and we were enjoying a welcome truce. The extreme heat of the sun had already caused putrefaction of the dead to commence, and the bodies in our front and rear, and especially the blood-soaked earth under our feet in the trenches, exhaled such a nauseating smell that I was forced to abandon my supper, although I had not tasted a morsel of food since the previous night.

The reports of the losses on the Federal side vary, but as above quoted, it is put down from all the five corps which aided in the assault at 4,400 total; but their loss was estimated at the time to be between 5,000 and 6,000. General Burnside says in his report that his 9th corps lost twenty-three commanders of regiments, four killed, fifteen wounded, and four missing; two brigade commanders, General W. F. Bartlett and Colonel E. G. Marshall, prisoners; fifty-two officers and 376 men killed; 105 officers and 1,556 men wounded; eighty-seven officers and 1,652 men missing; total 3,828.

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E. G. Marshall (1)
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