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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 40, Part 1 (Richmond, Petersburg)
Page 788 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LII.

second line or trench cavalier had been thrown up in its rear, commanding our front line and the enemy's works at a distance of from 150 to 200 yards. Owing to the extension of our line, already explained, our troops occupied only the front line of our works. The mine, as has been since ascertained, was laid along two wings, extending to the right and left of the main gallery, nearly parallel to the interior crest of our work and beneath the foot of the slope of the banquette, or perhaps farther back, and completely destroyed a portion of the front or main line of our fortification and the right of the trench cavalier. The crater measures 135 feet in length, 97 feet in breadth, and 30 feet deep. The two right guns of Pegram's battery were not disturbed by the explosion. The two left guns were thrown out in front of our works, and only eight men out of twenty-eight men and two officers with the battery escaped alive and unhurt. The battery was occupied by five companies of the Twenty-second South Carolina Regiment which were blown up. The Eighteenth South Carolina Regiment, on the left of the battery, had four companies blown up or destroyed by the falling earth.

From the facts furnished by Colonel F. W. McMaster, commanding Elliott's brigade since Brigadier General S. Elliott was wounded, it appears that the losses sustained by the explosion of the mine are as follows, viz:

Killed. Wounded. Total.

22nd South Carolina

Regiment:

Officers and men.

----------

----------

170

18th South Carolina

Regiment:

Officers. 4 5 9

Men. 39 38 77

Pegram's battery:

Officers and men.

----------

----------

22

Aggregate losses known

to have occurred from

----------

----------

278

explosion.

Of 4 officers and 72 men missing from the Eighteenth South Carolina Regiment, over and above the foregoing estimate, a part may have been blown up or killed by the falling earth, but most of them are supposed to have been captured.

The astonishing effect of the explosion, bursting like a volcano at the feet of the men, and the unweaving of an immense column of more than 100,000 cubic feet of earth to fall around in heavy masses, wounding, crushing, or burying everything within its reach, prevented our men from moving promptly to the mouth of the crater and occupying that part of the trench cavalier which was not destroyed, and over which the debris was scattered. Each brigade of this division had, however, been previously instructed as to the course to be pursued and the stubborn resistance to be offered on each flank in case a breach was made in our lines, and the troops of Elliott's brigade, not blown up or injured, maintained their ground with remarkable steadiness. When the torrents of dust had subsided the enemy was found in the breach. Some four flags were counted, and a continuous column of white and black troops came pouring on from the enemy's lines to support those in the advance, while their artillery, mortars, and cannon, opened all along their lines, concentrating on our works and grounds adjacent to the crater one of the heaviest artillery fires known to our oldest officers in the field. Their heaviest fire was from batteries in the vicinity of the Baxter road, where they had, since the 16th of June, seemed to concentrate their greatest strength, worked with greatest industry, built the strongest works, and fought with unwearied energy.


Page 788 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 40, Part 1 (Richmond, Petersburg)
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