War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0708 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N.C. Chapter LII.

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then had brought up an additional six-gun battery and was sweeping the seventy-five yards of bare up hill, where the Ninth Corps debouched, with a cross-fire of canister, grape, and musketry. I also saw that the crater, and trench adjacent, was in a sort of a re-entrant angle of the enemy's works, and that the men who had crowded in them were useless and,in a measure, helpless. The crater was a big hole, some twenty feet deep, and was shortly afterward rendered almost inaccessible by the cross-fire,and the trenches near it were crowded with men who were indisposed or unable to go forward; and I saw that the black troops were charging out by the flank, increasing this mass of men huddled under the enemy's fire. I directed General Turner not to put his men in the crater or the trench, already filled with men, but to make a charge to the right, where the enemy were massing. This he did, and I gave him all the aid in my power, the men climbing up and over our parapet and dashing toward the enemy's trench in good style. (See Turner's report.*) On my return to headquarters I overtook General Grant, and he directed me to say to General Burnside that no more men should be sent into the crater or trenches of the enemy already filled, but he (General Burnside) should send forward intrenching tools and hold all his men had gained. I did, so and again ordered General Turner, to push his whole division out, and to the right. Immediately thereafter, about 8 o'clock, I received from General Turner the following dispatch:

Colonel Bell's brigade, in attempting to gain ground to the right of the enemy's line, was severely met by the enemy's fire, when a regiment of colored troops stampeded and broke through the brigade, carrying it all with them into our line.

This I communicated to General Meade, and repeated my orders to Turner to get his other brigades out to attack, but shortly afterward I received orders from General Meade to draw my men all inside our trenches to the rear, and afterward an order was received to return with my corps to my own front.

I may mention here that when General Burnside had received the information that his men had occupied the crater, and a part of his command was in front of the crater not advancing, I wrote the following dispatch before I had any order from General Meade:


July 30-7.30 o'clock.

General MEADE:

Turner, in my front, reports that Burnside's troops fill our trenches in his front, occupying the crater, the enemy still holding their trenches to the right and left of the crater. Shall I order the divisions (two) of the Eighteenth Corps to try and charge the enemy's trenches over the heads of the men? Rifle firing has almost ceased in our front, and both parties covering.

E. O. C. ORD.

Major-General of Volunteers.

This dispatch I submitted to General Burnside, and he requested me to wait a few moments and he would have the way cleared. It was shortly after this I received the first order from General Meade to advance independently of General Burnside's troops. After receiving the order from General Meade to draw off my men and go back to my own front, I found that if I drew out the First and Third Divisions, Eighteenth Corps, which had been placed by General Burnside in his the trenches, would be left too weak, and hence I directed General Carr, commanding these divisions, to remain where he was


*Page 698.