Editor’s Note: This item is part of a collection of letters and diary entries from soldiers of the 8th New York Heavy Artillery written while the unit was at the Siege of Petersburg. Researcher and author Kathryn Lerch generously donated all of the items in this collection for use at The Siege of Petersburg Online.
Wm. Pike’s diary supports Willett’s report, but also mentions the Crater Explosion1:
Tuesday July 26, 1864
Had orders to march with 7 days rations at 4 o’clock in the night. Marched all night without stopping long enough to breath. Crossed the Appomattox River.
Wednesday July 27, 1864
Arrived at the James River at daylight. Crossed the river, made a charge and took their battery and ammunition and a few prisoners.
Thursday July 28, 1864
Our gunboats shelled the Reb’s works and drove them out. They moved to the left and attacked our cavalry and got the worst of it. We slaughtered them like sheep and took 300 prisoners.
Friday July 29, 1864
Our Corps lay in camp today. At 4 P.M. we had orders to be ready to march at dusk. Commenced to move. Recrossed the James. Marched all night back to Petersburg.
Saturday July 29 , 1864
Arrived at Petersburg at 3 o’clock in the morning. Our whole Corps massed and then lay down on our faces and in a minute the mine blew up and our troops began charging. Drew fore days rations and marched back to our old camp.
- Transcribed by Kathryn Lerch and used with permission Niagara County Historical Society, Lockport, New York ↩