The Battle of the Crater: 147 Years Ago Today

   

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Battle of the Crater, Alfred Waud, Harper's Weekly, 22 Aug. 1864, p. 548.

Battle of the Crater, Alfred Waud, Harper's Weekly, 22 Aug. 1864, p. 548.

By far the most famous and awe-inspiring battle of the Siege of Petersburg, the Battle of the Crater, occurred 147 years ago today.  The Battle of the Crater featured the longest tunnel dug in siege operations in the entire American Civil War, a massive explosion which caused even battle hardened veterans to mull about dumbstruck for several minutes after, the first large scale use of African-American soldiers in the Petersburg Campaign and Confederate response to this, and what historian Earl Hess, among many others, believes was a massacre based on available evidence.  The dreadful Union performance at the Battle of the Crater led directly to the courts-martial of both the luckless Ambrose Burnside and his cowardly division commander James Ledlie in the battle’s aftermath.

It’s no wonder the battle ignites the imagination of so many students of the Civil War.  I thought I’d take a moment today to direct The Siege of Petersburg Online: Beyond the Crater’s users to some of the resources available at the site.  First, check out the Battle of the Crater battle summary page and Battle of the Crater maps page.  For even more in depth information, see the following areas:

Battle of the Crater Bibliography & Books Reviewed:

Battle of the Crater Posts at The Siege of Petersburg Online:


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