War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0114 OPERATIONS IN SE.VA. AND N.C. Chapter LII.

Search Civil War Official Records


Lieutenant Colonel GILBERT P. ROBINSON, Third Maryland Battalion, being duly sworn, says to questions by JUDGE-ADVOCATE:

Question. Were you in the crater at the assault on the 30th of July, and what was your command on that occasion?

Answer. I was in the crater at the assault and I formed part of the third line making the assault. The brigade was in three lines. I belonged to the Second Brigade of the First Division.

Question. In what formation did your command go forward?

Answer. In column by battalions.

Question. Did any of your troops get beyond the crater?

Answer. Yes, sir; some of them did. My brigade went to the right of the crater to the breast-work in front of the battery, which was in accordance with the orders from Colonel Marshall the night before.

Question. Did the mass of the troops of the First Division halt in the crater and about it, or did they go forward the crest?

Answer. I did not see any of them go forward toward the crest. A majority of them went through the crater perpendicular to our front. I kept to the right.

Question. You know the fact that those troops halted there?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Do you know why they halted?

Answer. I could not positively say, why, without it was in consequence of the ground being so small, and so many of them getting together in the crater. There was great confusion in the crater.

Question. Was there not plenty of ground in front - why did they not go?

Answer. Yes, sir; I cannot answer about what transpired on the left. I went to the right and kept up a fire, and advanced as far as I could until I got to an angle in the works which was held by the rebels. I used the Spencer rifle upon them. The battalion numbered only fifty-six men.

Question. Was there confusion at that point of attack, or were the troops in any order?

Answer. I could not see any order at all. There was nothing but confusion in the crater. What was in the covered way beyond the crater toward Petersburg I could not say.

Question. Did you have an opportunity of observing whether efforts were made by division and brigade officers to relieve the troops from this disorder?

Answer. Yes, sir; every effort that could be made was made by Colonel Marshall and myself, for he had given orders that I should be obeyed, as I was next in command. I saw no division commander in the crater at the time.

Question. What was the cause of this confusion that you say existed in the crater?

Answer. I cannot assign any reason for the confusion if it was not as I said the ground being so much torn up and the place being so small, and when they got in there the fire was pretty strong.

Question. What was the nature of the enemy's fire at that time, heavy or otherwise?

Answer. When we got there the fire was not so strong as it was half an hour afterward.