BTC Notes: Into The Crater: The Mine Attack at Petersburg by Earl J. Hess

   

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Into the Crater: The Mine Attack at Petersburg by Earl J. HessSubject: Into The Crater: The Mine Attack at Petersburg by Earl J. Hess

Important Points:

Preface:

  • Hess discusses four other previous books on the Crater, questioning portions of each.  He believes (and a glance through the bibliography supports) his book makes the most use of resources, many of which were not utilized by the other authors.1
  • Hess proposes to discuss and answer the following questions in the book:2
    1. Were the Federals so paralyzed by the awesome sight of the Crater that they simply stayed in the hole instead of moving out to continue the attack as originally planned?
    2. Was Brig. Gen. James H. Ledlie’s penchant for staying in the rear, instead of leading his division forward, the real cause of the failure?
    3. Should we trust Lt. Col. Henry Pleasants’s version of affairs, wherein he portrayed the West Point-trained engineers of the army as trying to hamper his mine-digging effort?
    4. Does Brig. Gen. William Mahone’s division truly deserve all the credit for saving Petersburg on July 30 through their counterattacks against the Union soldiers who held the breach?
    5. To what extent did racially motivated killings take place during Mahone’s counterattacks?

Chapter 1: I Think We Might Do Something

  • Hess calls Burnside’s bad reputation in the Army of the Potomac for his leadership from May-June 1864 “not justified”.3
  • Pleasants’ reason for mining Pegram’s Salient was due to its closeness to the Union lines, not because it was the best place for an attack.4
  • Confederate E. Porter Alexander, First Corps Chief of Artillery, thought Pegram’s Salient was a poor position, and these fortifications had in fact been dug in error by Pegram’s Virginia Battery during the Second Battle of Petersburg from June 15-18, 1864.5
  • Terrain caused incorrect assumptions on both sides.6

Chapter 2: Underground War

  • The second chapter deals mainly with the Union mining effort and unsuccessful Confederate counter mining efforts.

Chapter 3: The Third Offensive

  • Contrary to commonly held beliefs, Hess says, Barnard and the rest of the military engineers supported Pleasants’s mining operations.  He believes an interview between Pleasants and Grant’s engineering officer John  G. Barnard which turned sour was mostly Pleasants’s fault.  The rest of the Army of the Potomac, however, did tend to laugh at the mining operation and its chances for success.7
  • Grant wanted to attack Petersburg in July 1864 as a way to prevent Lee from sending troops to Jubal Early’s Valley Army or the Confederate army defending Atlanta.  He created a plan which would utilize Pleasants’s mine but which didn’t necessarily make a frontal attack on Pegram’s Salient necessary after the explosion.  He sent a force north to try to turn the Confederate left near Richmond and also would have the mine exploded, with attacks on the south side of the Appomattox River if needed/desired.8
  • Grant expanded and refined his plans to include an attack from the Deep Bottom bridgehead north of the James by Winfield Scott Hancock’s 2nd Corps, and a cavalry raid by two of Phil Sheridan’s divisions.  The 9th Corps as well as supporting forces would advance as far as possible after the mine explosion.9

Chapter 4: Deep Bottom

  • As Hancock’s Second Corps and accompanying cavalry seemed to draw a large number of Confederates north of the James River and away from Petersburg, Grant and Meade definitively decided to include a Ninth Corps assault following the explosion of Pleasants’s mine.10
  • July 27, 1864: Hancock’s Second Corps crossed a pontoon bridge and advanced into the Strawberry Plains area, capturing the four twenty pounder Parrotts of Graham’s VA Btty and forcing the Confederate brigades of Henagan and Humphreys to pull back from an advanced blocking position to the New Market Line.  Hancock’s Corps then did a slow left wheel into place behind Bailey’s Creek.  Hancock saw the Confederate New Market Line was too strong to assault frontally but he didn’t have enough men to flank the Confederates on their left.  As a result, Sheridan’s cavalry was not launched on a raid.  This Union demonstration so worried Lee that he ultimately sent 2 1/2 infantry divisions, two cavalry divisions, and First Corps commander Richard H. Anderson north of the James to counteract it.11
  • July 28, 1864: Hancock’s offensive turned defensive at 10 a.m. on the 28th when three Confederate brigades (Lane’s, McGowan’s, Henagan’s) launched an attack against Alfred Torbert’s Union cavalry division.  The Confederate attack was driven back, but it further convinced Hancock he could not achieve anything offensively.  As a result, Mott’s Division of Hancock’s Corps was pulled back on the evening of the 28th and moved into the Petersburg lines to the south on the morning of the 29th.12
  • July 29, 1864: Hancock assumed a fully defensive posture with his remaining two divisions and Sheridan’s cavalry, acting as bait to continue to attract more Confederates north of the James.  This worked well, and almost six full Confederate infantry and cavalry divisions were in Hancock’s front before the mine explosion.  Hancock, however, was no longer there.  His remaining troops moved south across Bermuda Hundred and occupied trenches in front of Petersburg by the morning of July 30, when the explosion was triggered.13
  • The First Battle of Deep Bottom had turned from a major Union effort into a diversion for the main effort to follow the mine explosion.  Sheridan’s cavalry never did launch a raid as planned, but Lee moved a large portion of his army north of the James during these three days and was weakest where the main Federal attack would be sprung.14

Chapter 5: Preparing, July 27-29

  • Hess does not disagree with the commonly held story regarding the refusal to allow Ferrero’s Black troops lead the assault.15
  • After Burnside issued his orders to the commanders of this three White divisions, each understood to a different degree.  Potter understood Burnside’s orders completely.  Willcox partially misunderstood and thought he was to widen the breach prior to taking the high ground in the rear of Pegram’s Salient.  Ledlie, the commander of the division chosen to lead the assault, totally misunderstood what he was supposed to do, believing he was simply to hold the open ground resulting from the mine explosion, and that reaching the high ground beyond was not all that important.16
  • Hess discusses the commanders of divisions and brigades in Burnside’s 9th Corps, including:17
    1. James H. Ledlie, “one of the worst division commanders in the war”
    2. Ledlie’s “good” brigade commanders Bartlett and Marshall
    3. Robert B. Potter, “one of the best division commanders in the Army of the Potomac”
    4. Potter’s brigade commander Simon Griffin was a “superb brigade leader”
    5. Orlando B. Willcox was a West Pointer with a lot of battle experience
    6. Willcox’s brigade leaders were “reliable”
    7. Edward Ferrero “had a solid if unremarkable record of service”
    8. Ferrero’s brigade commanders seemed solid as well
    9. John G. Parke, “Burnside’s reliable chief of staff”, needed rest, per Hess.  As a result Julius White replace him on July 29th, the eve of the Battle of the Crater, and White did not perform well.
  • Hess believes Meade had legitimate political reasons for not wanting to lead with Black troops and for wanting to focus on reaching the high ground rather than holding the breach.  He writes that Burnside failed to deal with this properly by leaving the leading of the assault to a drawing of straws, failing to clearly indicate what he wanted his division leaders to do at a conference going over their orders, and allowing a drunken incompetent in Ledlie to lead one of his divisions at all.  The numerous last minute changes were not effectively handled by Burnside.18

Chapter 6: Night of July 29

  • 110 cannon and 54 mortars were gathered in the vicinity of the mine explosion by Union artillery officers to support Burnside’s attack.  Sheridan’s cavalry also simulated infnatry moving north across the James to further the impression the main Union effort was still toward Richmond rather than Petersburg.19
  • Criticism of Burnside for not preparing the abatis and trenches in his sector to move out to assault quickly are not entirely fair, per Hess.  Burnside did not need to open up the abatis in front of his line because it had already been severely shot up and did not pose a significant obstacle.  Hess goes on to say that Burnside could have done more  to fill his forward trenches with sandbags so they would not be obstacles, but that there probably was not time to gather enough sandbags due to the amount used to tamp the mine tunnel for the explosion.20
  • Confederates had 16 mortars behind Pegram’s Salient, most of which were part of Haskell’s Battalion and many of which were manned by Lamkin’s Nelson VA Btty.  Ten men each from Otey’s Btty A, 13th VA Lt Arty and Btty B, 13th VA Lt Arty manned the rest of the mortars.21
  • This chapter essentially covered the positions of the Union and Confederate troops on either side of the line prior to the attack.

Chapter 7: Springing the Mine

  • The explosion and attack was scheduled for 3:30 a.m. on July 30, 1864.  However, poor fuses caused trouble and by the time men had gone in to repair the issue and get the fuses properly lit, the explosion did not happen until 4:44 a.m., after dawn.22
  • This chapter devotes quite a lot of space to how the explosion looked, sounded, and felt to men on both sides in various positions along the line.

Chapter 8: The First Union Wave

  • 164 guns and mortars in the Union lines aimed at the Confederate entrenchments after the explosion, one of the largest artillery bombardments of the war.23
  • Ledlie’s 1st Division, 9th Corps advanced first and succeeded only in taking the Crater.  They did not move far beyond for any length of time.24
  • Griffin’s Brigade of Potter’s Div., 9th Corps advanced with Ledlie on his right.  They veered left and into the Crater as well.  Hess notes that due to the cramped nature of the Crater, the maze of Confederate covered ways directly behind Pegram’s Salient, and the “complex nature” of the Confederate lines to the north, all future Union advances after this first one simply packed more men into a confined space.  Hess also points out that Confederate fire was rapidly adding to the confusion.25
  • Hartranft’s Brigade of Willcox’s 3rd Division, 9th Corps, advanced on the southern side of the Crater, and they too pushed into the hole and some abandoned Confederate works to the left.26
  • The absence of Ledlie from the Crater prevented any organized push from happening.  Hess definitely blames Ledlie more than other division commanders because his whole command was forward and in the Crater.  Willcox and Potter had troops forward and in reserve, and Hess believes they both were much more actively involved than Ledlie.27
  • Meade and Burnside spent the better part of the morning arguing via telegram.28
  • When Meade learned nothing positive was happening in Burnside’s front, he asked if Warren’s 5th Corps and Hancock’s 2nd Corps  might be able to attack successfully on their fronts to the left and right of Burnside.29

Chapter 9: Holding the Line

  • After the initial explosion, Elliott’s South Carolinians attempted to resist the Union advance.  They tried an attack which abruptly fell apart when Elliott was wounded.  Hess points out that this halt was a positive because it saved Elliott’s men from getting cut up early in the fight and allowed them to annoy the Federals in the crater.30
  • McAfee’s Brigade to the left of the crater and Goode’s Brigade to the right both refused their flanks and joined with the survivors of Elliott’s Brigade in attempting to keep the Union troops pinned in the crater.31
  • Bushrod Johnson ordered all available troops in his division toward the crater and asked for assistance from the other two divisions defending Petersburg.  Hoke only spared one regiment, but William Mahone reacted by marching toward the danger point with two brigades.32
  • Confederate artillery units also were placed into supporting positions to attempt to hold the Yankees at the crater.33
  • Lee and A.P. Hill independently sought to send men from Mahone’s Division toward the explosion point, and two of Mahone’s Brigades we placed on the march quickly.34
  • Hess gives Bushrod Johnson and his division, especially Elliott’s (and subsequently McMasters’s) Brigade of South Carolinians, who haad every right to have performed poorly and didn’t.  Hess believes these troops have not received enough credit for their role in containing the Union troops, four times their number, from breaking out to the high ground beyond Pegram’s Salient.35

Chapter 10: The Second Union Wave

  • Around 7 a.m. a second wave of Union troops, including the brigades of Bliss (Potter) and Humphrey (Willcox) and the divisions of Turner and Ferrero, was sent in.36
  • Bliss’s Brigade got separated into two parts, one sent off to the right and the mouth of the ravine in which Poor Creek ran, straight ahead just to the right of the crater, where conflicting orders were given.37
  • Meade ordered Ord, who then ordered Turner, to move his troops into the fight.  Turner couldn’t find any room to move forward due to the large number of Union troops directly in his front.38
  • Ferrero’s Black Division of the 9th Corps advanced in the second wave around 7:30 a.m., and captured some Confederate trenches to the north of the crater.  However, Hess writes, the Blacks interfered accidentally with members of the White 9th Corps divisions trying to push west out of the crater.39
  • Humphrey’s Brigade of Willcox’s 9th Corps Division attacked the Confederate works south of the crater with minimal success.  The poor performance of the 46th NY was partly to blame.40
  • Turner’s Division finally moved forward off to the right to attempt to launch an attack against the left wing of McMasters’s South Carolina Brigade.  Two of his three brigades (Bell and Coan) were getting set to launch the attack when the defining moment of the battle occurred.  Weisinger’s Brigade of Mahone’s Division arrived and launched a devastating attack against the Crater, causing the Union troops who could to come tumbling back to their lines.41
  • Hess believes this second wave was a useless attempt to salvage what was already a bad situation and only caused more confusion and chaos as too many Union troops were packed into too small an area.42

Chapter 11: An End and a Beginning

  • Hess points out the number of Union troops packed into a 500 yard wide piece of the Confederate works by stating numbers of regiments in the 9th Corps and in supporting troops:43
    1. Ledlie’s 9th Corps Division: 11 of 11 regiments in the Confederate works
    2. Potter’s 9th Corps Division: 9 of 15 regiments in the works
    3. Willcox’s 9th Corps Division: 10 of 15 regiments in the works
    4. Ferrero’s 9th Corps Division: 9 of 9 regiments in the works
    5. Turner’s 10th Corps Division: none of the 13 regiments reached the works, but they were very close
    6. All other supporting units never crossed no man’s land
  • As the situation worsened, Meade and Burnside continued to quarrel, Grant tried to find out more of what was happening at the front, Warren waffled at making any attack with his Fifth Corps until a battery in his front could be silenced, and Hancock made demonstrations on the right of the line to see if the Confederates had weakened their lines in his front.  They hadn’t.  Eventually Weisinger’s Virginians of Mahone’s Division made all of these efforts moot.44
  • Hess writes that the men of Ferrero’s Black Division probably did more than any other Union troops to attempt to push west from the Crater.  Thomas’s Brigade tried three advances with no help before Mahone’s Confederate counterattack began.45
  • Mahone immediately set two brigades of his division in motion to the crisis point when the mine explosion occurred.  He took Weisinger’s VA Brigade and Hall’s (Wright’s) GA Brigade and accompanied them personally.  Later, when he had reconnoitered, he also sent for Sanders’s AL Brigade for support.  Mahone was told by McMaster’s South Carolinians that they were facing Black troops who gave no quarter, and Mahone passed this along to his own men.46
  • Hess points out that Mahone never mentioned the South Carolinians and North Carolinians who manned the ravine from which he launched his attack.  Mahone did not give credit to these men for holding this position against several Union forays out of the Crater.47
  • Mahone wanted to wait for Hall’s GA Brigade to get into position, but what looked like a Union attack led him to order Weisinger’s VA Brigade in alone as Hall was still filing into place.48

Chapter 12: Weisinger Attacks

  • Weisinger’s VA Brigade attacked at 9 a.m. out of the ravine to the west of Pegram’s Salient, along with several regiments of Hall’s GA Brigade and some unorganized remnants of Elliott’s South Carolinians.  Weisinger’s men initially veered left of the crater, trying to stay away from its concentrated firepower.49
  • Hess next describes how many members of Ferrero’s Black Division of the 9th Corps performed poorly and ran away.  He gives numerous eyewitness testimony from men in White regiments.  Hess seems to agree it was mostly Black soldiers who ran, but the skeptic in me makes me wonder how much of this was prejudice by the White soldiers.  Hess up to this point has not addressed that particular point.50
  • Hess next discusses the hand to hand fighting in the trenches just north of the crater.  He vividly describes incidents surrounding one of the most controversial aspects of this battle, the killing of Black soldiers who had already surrendered, and provides many eyewitness accounts.  Federals south of the crater also abandoned the Confederate works, so the only remaining area in Union hands was the Crater itself.51

Chapter 13: Hall Attacks

  • Grant and Meade realized nothing further could be done and issued an order at 9:30 a.m. authorizing a full withdrawal to Union lines.  Burnside and Meade again got into an argument.  Meade’s order won out and Burnside ordered the men to retreat under cover of dark that night.  Mahone and the Confederates had no intention of letting them off that easily.52
  • Hall’s Ga Brigade attacked around 10 a.m., veering to the left and north of the crater just as Weisinger did, but they accomplished little according to Hess.53
  • Maj. John C. Haskell started dropping mortar rounds into the crater from close range at the suggestion of Gen. Mahone around 11 a.m.  Hess believes these mortar rounds caused major demoralization among those Union soldiers still in the crater and nicely paved the way for Sanders’ AL Brigade to advance successfully.54

Chapter 14: Sanders Attacks

  • Mahone ordered Sanders’ AL Brigade to attack at 1 p.m., hoping his brigade, the last available reinforcements, would finish the battle.55
  • The heat and the firing of the mortars caused less Union resistance when Sanders attacked than when Hall did so earlier.  Sanders’ men reached the crater and surrounded it on three sides.  The remaining Union officers ordered a retreat as Sanders was approaching, and many men did try to leave while others fought or surrendered.  A bloody hand to hand fight ensued, and Confederates who had heard cries of “Remember Fort Pillow” and “No Quarter” coming from the Crater in some cases massacred Black Union prisoners.56

Chapter 15: Afternoon and Evening, July 30

  • Mahone took 855 enlisted men and 74 officers as prisoners, according to R.E. Lee57
  • More eyewitness testimony discussed how some Confederates treated unarmed Black prisoners, but to be fair other Confederates tried to prevent these killings.58
  • Burnside’s shattered 9th Corps was required to hold their previous lines on the night of July 30th.  Meade feared a Confederate attack on the Union left flank, an moved heavy artillery to help blunt such an event from occurring successfully.  He didn’t realize Lee had no intention of attacking.  Burnside and Meade continued to argue with each other to no gain for the Union cause.59
  • The Confederates dug a fire step at the edge of the Crater and buried the dead at the bottom of the Crater or in a trench somewhat further back.  Meade asked for a flag of truce to care for the wounded but nothing came of it that day.60

Chapter 16: July 31 and August 1

  • Examining Black casualty rates suggests some atrocities did occur on the battlefield, writes Hess.61
  • The first part of the chapter covers how the the wounded and prisoners fared after the battle.
  • Burnside struggled to again take over trench lines he had manned prior to July 30 now that he had 4000 fewer men.  Meade and Burnside continued to argue, and Meade suggested a court of inquiry look into the battle.62
  • The last part of the chapter covers the formal truce which occurred on the morning of August 1, 1864.  During this time, all of the dead and wounded were removed from or buried in no man’s land between the Crater and the 9th Corps lines.

Chapter 17: Aftermath

  • Union troops were greatly demoralized by the results of the battle, as were civilians in the North
  • Confederates were amazed they had beaten back an assault of this magnitude with less than one division, and many commented on the use of Black troops very unfavorably.
  • Burnside and Ledlie tended to take the main blame for the fiasco,  with some in the 9th Corps preferring to blame Meade.
  • Confederates were greatly angered by the use of Black troops, worried about slave insurrections and what would happen if Southerners of any kind fell into these mens’ hands.
  • Massive amounts of Federal artillery fire did very little to affect 26 well placed Confederate guns, which played a major role in the Federal defeat.
  • The last portion of this chapter covers the Court of Inquiry convened late in the summer of 1864 which found in favor of Meader, the Committee on the Conduct of the War’s investigation which found both Meade and Burnside to be at fault, and Grant’s later thoughts on the matter which in some cases sought to deflect all blame from himself.63

Conclusion:

  • The first portion of the chapter covers what happened to Pegram’s Salient after the battle to the end of the Siege of Petersburg, including two minor fights, as well as what happened to several of the men closely connected with the mine explosion.
  • Hess blames mainly Burnside for the Union failure, but for reasons different than Burnside has traditionally been blamed.  He even calls some of those reasons unimportant.64
  • Confederates mainly argued over who was most responsible for saving the day.  Hess believes the Virginians who received the credit did not deserve that credit alone, and the Virginians were not willing to share any of the credit after the battle.65

Appendix 1: After the War

  • What happened to the physical landscape around the Crater is the topic of this appendix.  The crater area was used as a golf course, among other things, before finally being included in the Petersburg National Battlefield.
  • Hess also discusses how post-war politics and rhetoric caused Weisinger’s Virginians to receive the sole credit for winning the battle for the Confederates.

Appendix 2: Order of Battle

  • The order of battle goes down to regimental level and involves only those troops which participated in the battle.  Leader names go down to brigade level.  No unit strengths are included.

Unit Strengths:

  • Kershaw’s Division: 4200 men at the start of the Third Offensive on July 23, 186466
  • Henagan’s SC Brigade and Humphreys’s MS Brigade on July 27, 1864 had a total of 2400 men67
  • Hancock’s Second Corps infantry was over 13,000 on July 27, 1864.  This appears to have included some supporting infantry from the Army of the James.68
  • Ewell’s Command holding the approaches to Richmond had about 6,000 men as of July 27, 1864.69
  • Henry W. Birge’s Brigade, 19th Corps has 2600 men on July 28, 1864.70
  • 1st Brigade, Ferrero’s Black Division, 9th Corps had 2000 men on July 30, 1864.71
  • 2nd Brigade, Ferrero’s Black Division, 9th Corps had 2300 men on July 30, 1864.72
  • 9th Corps had 15000+ men on July 30, 1864.73
  • 2nd Brigade, 1st Div,, 9th Corps (Marshall) had 1200 men on July 30, 1864: 2nd PA Provisional HA = ~400, 14th NY HA = ~400, 3rd MD Bn and the 179th NY combined = ~400.74
  • 1st Brig., 1st Div., 9th Corps (Bartlett) had 1800 men on July 30, 1864.75
  • 45th PA, 1st Brig., 2nd Div, 9th Corps had 221 men on July 30, 1864.76
  • Mott’s Div, Second Corps had about 4500 men on July 30, 1864.77
  • Cutler’s 4th Div., Fifth Corps had 1959 men on July 30, 1864.78
  • Ayres’ 2nd Div., Fifth Corps had 4758 men on July 30, 1864.79
  • Griffin’s 1st Div., Fifth Corps had 4979 men on July 30, 1864.80
  • Crawford’s 3rd Div., Fifth Corps had 4336 men on July 30, 1864.81
  • Elliott’s SC Brigade, Johnson’s Div. had less than 1500 men on July 30, 1864.82
  • 18th SC, Elliott’s Brig., Johnson’s Div. lost 163 of 350 men in the mine explosion on July 30, 1864.83
  • 22nd SC, Elliott’s Brig., Johnson’s Div. lost 170 of 300 men in the mine explosion on July 30, 1864.84
  • 3rd MD Bn., 2nd Brig., 1st Div., 9th Corps had 56 men on July 30, 1864.85
  • 20th MI, 2nd Brig, 3rd Div, 9th Corps had 115 men on July 30, 1864.86
  • 6th VA, Weisinger’s Brig, Mahone’s Div, Third Corps: 98 men on July 30, 1864 due to a detachment on the skirmish line.87
  • Weisinger’s VA Brig, Mahone’s Div, Third Corps: 800 men attacked the Crater on July 30, 1864.88
  • Hall’s GA Brig, Mahone’s Div, Third Corps: 370 men went into the attack on July 30, 1864, minus the regiment and a half which had attacked with Weisinger earlier in the day.89
  • Sanders’ AL Brig, Mahone’s Div, Third Corps: 500 men (minus the Brigade sharpshooters) went into the attack on July 30, 1864.90
  • 61st NC, Clingman’s Brig, Hoke’s Div: 140 men of this regiment attacked with Sanders’ AL Brigade at 1 p.m. on July 30, 1864.91

Unit Armament:

  • Pegram’s VA Battery: 4 12lb Napoleons92
  • Co. C, 13th Bn VA Lt Arty (aka Davidson’s VA Btty): 4 guns (tube type not noted)93
  • Rockbridge VA Arty (aka Graham’s Btty): 4 20lb Parrott rifles94
  • Btty C, 13th VA Lt Arty (Davidson’s VA Btty): 4 Napoleons on July 30, 186495
  • Btty A, 13th VA Lt Arty (Otey’s VA Btty): 2 Napoleons (in a section led by Capt. David N. Walker) on July 30, 186496
  • Btty B, 13th VA Lt Arty (Ringgold VA Btty): 4 Napoleons on July 30, 1864.97
  • Co F, 13th Bn NC Arty (Flanner’s NC Btty): 6 Napoleons on July 30, 1864.98
  • 3rd MD Bn., 2nd Brig., 1st Div., 9th Corps: Armed with “Spencer repeaters” on July 30, 1864.99
  • Letcher VA Arty: 4 Napoleons on July 30, 1864.100
  • Crenshaw’s VA Btty: 4 Napoleons on July 30, 1864.101
  • 1st MI SS, 2nd Brig, 3rd Div, 9th Corps: Armed with Sharps breech-loading rifles on July 30, 1864.102

Unit Commanders:

  • Pegram’s VA Battery: Captain Richard G. Pegram103
  • Elliott’s SC Brigade, Johnson’s Division: Brig. Gen. Stephen Elliott104
  • Wise’s VA Brigade, Johnson’s Division: Col. Thomas Goode105
  • Ransom’s NC Brigade, Johnson’s Division: Col. Lee M. McAfee106
  • Co. C, 13th Bn VA Lt Arty (aka Davidson’s VA Btty): Capt. George S. Davidson prior to the Battle of the Crater107
  • 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 9th Corps, AotP: Col. Zenas R. Bliss (replaced Henry Pleasants on July 25, 1864.108
  • Lane’s NC Brigade: Col. James Conner109
  • McGowan’s SC Brigade: Brig. Gen. Samuel McGowan110
  • Henagan’s SC Brigade: Col. John W. Henagan111
  • Lane’s NC Brigade, Wilcox’s Div. on July 28, 1864: Col. Robert Cowan112
  • McGowan’s SC Brigade, Wilcox’s Div. on July 28, 1864: Col. J.F. Hunt113
  • Co. C, 13th Bn VA Lt Arty (aka Davidson’s VA Btty): Lt. James C. Otey led the battery on July 30 according to Hess114
  • 35th MA, 1st Brig., 1st Div., 9th Corps: Capt. Clifton A. Blanchard on July 30, 1864.115
  • Elliott’s SC Brigade, Johnson’s Division: Col. Fitz William McMaster took command after Elliott was wounded early in the fighting on July 30, 1864.116
  • 49th NC, McAfee’s NC Brigade, Johnson’s Division: Lt. Col. John A. Fleming was killed in command of this unit on July 30, 1864.117
  • 45th PA, 1st Brig, 2nd Div, 9th Corps: Capt. Theodore Gregg in command on July 30, 1864.118
  • 30th USCT, 1st Brig, 4th Div, 9th Corps: Col. Delevan Bates in command on July 30, 1864.119
  • 43rd USCT, 1st Brig, 4th Div, 9th Corps: Col. H. Seymour Hall in command on July 30, 1864.120
  • 28th USCT, 2nd Brig, 4th Div, 9th Corps: Col. Charles S. Russell in command on July 30, 1864.121
  • 29th USCT, 2nd Brig, 4th Div, 9th Corps: Col. John A. Bross in command on July 30, 1864.122
  • 20th MI, 2nd Brig, 3rd Div, 9th Corps: ? Byron Cutcheon in command on July 30, 1864.123
  • 46th NY, 2nd Brig, 3rd Div, 9th Corps: Capt. Alfons Serviere in command on July 30, 1864.124
  • 48th NY, 2nd Brig, 2nd Div, 10th Corps: Maj. Samuel M. Swartwout in command on July 30, 1864.125
  • 32nd ME, 2nd Brig, 2nd Div, 9th Corps: Capt. Herbert Sargent succeeded to command on July 30, 1864 during the fighting.126
  • 61st VA, Weisinger’s VA Brigade, Mahone’s Div, Third Corps: ? William H. Stewart in command on July 30, 1864.127
  • 12th VA, Weisinger’s VA Brigade, Mahone’s Div, Third Corps: Maj. Richard Watson Jones in command on July 30, 1864.128
  • Wright’s GA Brig, Mahone’s Div, Third Corps: Lt. Col. Matthew R. Hall in command on July 30, 1864.129
  • SS Bn, Weisinger’s Brig, Mahone’s Div, Third Corps: Capt. W.W. Broadbent in command on July 30, 1864 (and killed during Weisinger’s attack)130
  • 6th VA, Weisinger’s Brig, Mahone’s Div, Third Corps: Col. George T. Rogers131
  • Weisinger’s VA Brig, Mahone’s Div, Third Corps: Col. George T. Rogers took command on July 30, 1864 after Weisinger was wounded at the Crater.132
  • 25th NC, Ransom’s (McAfee’s) NC Brig, Johnson’s Div: Lt. Col. Matthew Norris Love in command on July 30, 1864.  Hess says “his men” in reference to the 25th NC and Love.133
  • Letcher VA Arty: Capt. Thomas A. Brander commanded the battery on July 30, 1864.134
  • Crenshaw’s VA Btty: Capt. Thomas Ellett commanded the battery on July 30, 1864.135
  • 4th RI, 1st Brig, 2nd Div, 9th Corps: Lt. Col. Martin P. Buffum commanded on July 30, 1864.136
  • 51st PA, 1st Brig, 3rd Div, 9th Corps: Col. William J. Bolton commanded on July 30, 1864, was wounded, and resumed command on October 16, 1864.137

Unit Performance at the Battle of the Crater, July 30, 1864:

  • Note: I started seriously paying attention to this later in the book, so these notes are made without the accompanying page numbers as earlier versions.
  • Hess believes the Black soldiers of Ferrero’s Division did not behave particularly well, and that their attack actually did more to disrupt the White troops already in the Crater than do any good.
  • Hall’s GA Brigade did not perform well in its attack on the Crater
  • Sanders had one of the best brigades in the Army of Northern Virginia,. according to Hess.

Other:

Sources:

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