War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0524 OPERATIONS IN SE.VA. AND N.C. Chapter LII.

Search Civil War Official Records

miners from Schuylkill County, Pa., the colonel himself being a skillful and experienced mining engineer. After consultation with General Potter he was authorized to commence the work, and the fact was reported to the commanding general of the Army of the Potomac, who did not specially approve of the work, but rather consented to its advancement. It was pushed forward to completion, meeting with many serious natural obstacles, as well as much personal discouragement.

On the 3rd day of July a letter was received from the major-general commanding the Army of the Potomac requesting an opinion as to the possibility of success of an attack upon the enemy from our front, which resulted in the correspondence now in possession of the commanding general. For a few days at different times during the month of July General Ferrero's division returned to the corps, one of these periods occurring soon after it was understood that the corps might be ordered to attack, and General Ferrero was informed that in such an event he would be called upon to lead. After considerable conversation upon the subject, the formation suggested by him for the attack by his division was approved, and he was directed to drill his troops in such a manner as to familiarize them with this mode of attack, which he did.

On the 18th of July General Potter reported that the mine was completed, and the fact was reported to the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac. Among the records of this epoch are some which bear upon the size of the charge of the mine, the fuses necessary to explode it, and the time of explosion, copies of which, if desired by the general commanding, can be furnished.

On the 26th of July a letter was received requesting a statement of the plan of attack proposed by the corps, the answer to which was as follows.*

On the 28th in conversation with the commanding general he stated that the formation of the troops, as well as the designation of the leading division, did not meet with his approval. After much conversation on the subject the major-general commanding said that he was to visit Lieutenant-General Grant that afternoon, and that a definite answer would be given in the evening.

The next day, the 29th, not far from noon, the major-general commanding called upon me at corps headquarters, saying that it had been decided not to allow General Ferrero's division to take the advance; neither did he approve of the formation which was proposed after the attacking division should have passed over the breach in the enemy's lines. After a full discussion of the subject, in which it was urged upon the commanding general that the three white divisions were not at that time in a condition to make a dashing charge, owing to the arduous services and extreme trials which they had been subjected to for the forty days previous, which fact had been officially reported to me by my inspector-general, Lieutenant-Colonel Loring, and that the officers and men of the colored division had been drilled for and expected to make the charge, he adhered to his decision, and instructions were at once given to change the mode of attack to correspond with his views. Nearly the entire night was occupied in making the necessary changes. The result of the attack of the 30th has already been reported.+

The losses of the corps during this epoch were as follows: First Division, 253 killed, 1,048 wounded, 444 missing; Second Division, 173

---------------

*For communication [here omitted], see p.136.

+See p.526.

---------------