Blue & Gray Magazine, Vol. XXX, No. 5 (2014): The Battle of the Crater, July 30, 1864
by Emmanuel Dabney
BTC’s Take: Petersburg National Battlefield Park Ranger Emmanuel Dabney, who also maintains a blog called Interpretive Challenges, pens the main article in this edition of Blue and Gray Magazine. This was an inspired choice by Editor Dave Roth, with the issue arriving less than a month before the 150th anniversary of the battle. Wiley Seord’s Letters series features a letter which focuses on the First Battle of Deep Bottom, and is penned by Grant staffer Frank M. Kelley. A series of six maps shows the main battle area, and Dave Roth shares the driving tour duties with Chief of Interpretation at Petersburg National Battlefield Chris Bryce.
BTC Siege of Petersburg Book Notes:
BTC Siege of Petersburg Book Sources:
This issue features one of the most brutal contests of the Civil War, displaying on the one hand the worst attributes of mankind, and on the other hand the kind of spunk and ingenuity that made America the greatest country on the globe. Then, as usual, politics got in the way to ruin a perfectly good plan….
Grant again slams into Confederate earthworks and the new routine of digging in and stalemate resumes. But then the ingenuity of a Pennsylvania civil engineer springs forth with a plan to disrupt the enemy trench lines in one fell swoop.
Lt. Col. Henry Pleasants, the son of a Philadelphia father and a Buenos Aires mother, feels certain he can dig a mine under a narrow stretch of no-man’s land. Pack it with explosives—six tons seems sufficient—then detonate it and drive a few attack columns through the breach, and Petersburg belongs to the Union. And Lee’s army is cut off from its supply sources.
Several factors conspire to thwart the Union plan and the result is the “brutal contest” mentioned above. One factor involves the corps whose front contains the mine and the division chosen to make the attack. Another factor is purely, and sadly, political.
Publisher: Blue & Gray Magazine
Release Date: 2014
The Siege of Petersburg Online: Beyond the Crater Pages Which Mention This Book: