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B-bottoms FIHOTD (Battle of the Crater)

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  • B-bottoms FIHOTD (Battle of the Crater)

    Battle of the Crater

    The Battle of the Crater was a battle of the American Civil War, part of the Siege of Petersburg. It took place on July 30, 1864, between the Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee and the Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George Meade (under the direct supervision of the general-in-chief, Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant).


    Battle prelude

    Union soldiers in trench before the battleDuring the siege of Petersburg, Virginia, the armies were aligned along a series of fortified positions and trenches more than 20 miles long, extending from the old Cold Harbor battlefield near Richmond all the way to areas south of Petersburg.

    After Lee had checked Grant in an attempt to seize Petersburg on June 15, the battle settled into a stalemate. Grant had learned a hard lesson at Cold Harbor about attacking Lee in a fortified position and was chafing at the inactivity to which Lee's trenches and forts had confined him. Finally, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Pleasants, commanding the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry of Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside's IX Corps, offered a novel proposal to solve the problem.

    Pleasants, a mining engineer from Pennsylvania in civilian life, proposed digging a long mine shaft underneath the Confederate lines and planting explosive charges directly underneath a fort (Elliott's Salient) in the middle of the Confederate First Corps line. If successful, this would not only kill all the defenders in the area, it would also open a hole in the Confederate defenses. If enough Union troops filled the breach quickly enough and drove into the Confederate rear area, the Confederates would not be able to muster enough force to drive them out, and Petersburg might fall. Burnside, whose reputation had suffered from his 1862 defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg and his poor performance earlier that year at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, gave Pleasants the go-ahead, hoping to restore his reputation.


    Mine construction

    Earth was removed by hand, and the floor, wall, and ceiling of the mine were shored up with timbers from a local wood mill. The shaft was elevated as it moved toward the Confederate lines and fresh air was pumped in via an ingenious air-exchange mechanism near the entrance. This precluded the need for ventilation shafts and served well in disguising the diggers' progress. On July 17, the main shaft reached under the Confederate position. Rumors of a mine construction reached the Confederates, but despite countermining attempts, they were unable to discover it.

    The mine was in a "T" shape. The approach shaft was 511 feet long. At its end, a perpendicular gallery of 75 feet extended in both directions. The Federals filled it with 320 kegs of gunpowder, totaling 8,000 pounds. The explosives were approximately 20 feet underneath the Confederate works. On July 28, the mine was completed.


    Battle

    Pleasants lit the fuse. After no explosion occurred at the expected time, two brave volunteers from the 48th Regiment (Lt. Jacob Douty and Sgt. Harry Reese) crawled into the tunnel. After discovering the fuse had burned out at a splice, they spliced on a length of new fuse and relit it. Finally, at 4:44 a.m., the charges exploded in a massive shower of earth, men, and guns. A crater (still visible today) was created, 170 feet long, 60 to 80 feet wide, and 30 feet deep. Between 280 and 350 Confederate soldiers were instantly killed in the blast.

    The plan was doomed from the start, however, due to Meade's interference on the day before the battle. Burnside had trained a division of United States Colored Troops (USCT) under Brig. Gen. Edward Ferrero to lead the assault. They were trained to move around the edges of the crater and then fan out to extend the breach in the Confederate line. Then, Burnside's two other divisions, made up of white troops, would move in, supporting Ferrero's flanks and race for Petersburg itself.

    Meade, who lacked confidence in the operation, ordered Burnside not to use the black troops in the lead assault, thinking the attack would fail and the black soldiers would be killed needlessly, creating political repercussions in the North. Burnside protested to General Grant, who sided with Meade. Complying with the order, but showing a remarkable lack of professionalism, Burnside selected a replacement white division by having the commanders draw lots. Brig. Gen. James F. Ledlie's 1st Division was selected, but he failed to brief the men on what was expected of them and was reported during the battle to be drunk, well behind the lines, providing no leadership.

    Ledlie's untrained white division went across the field to the crater and, instead of moving around it, yielded to their curiosity and moved down into the crater itself, wasting valuable time while the Confederates, under Maj. Gen. William Mahone, gathered as many troops together as they could for a counterattack. Soon, they had formed up around the crater and began firing down into it, in what Mahone later described as a "turkey shoot". The plan had failed, but Burnside, instead of cutting his losses, sent in Ferrero's men. They also went down into the crater, and for the next few hours, Mahone's soldiers, along with those of Maj. Gen. Bushrod Johnson, and artillery slaughtered the IX Corps as it attempted to escape from the crater.

    The Confederates reported losses of 1,032 men in the battle, while Union losses were estimated at 5,300. About half of them were from Ferrero's division, to which many of the Confederates offered no quarter (so vicious were the Confederates in targeting the black soldiers that white Union soldiers in the crater began shooting their black comrades to diffuse the Confederate rage)[1]. Burnside was relieved of command. Although he was as responsible for the defeat as was Burnside, Meade escaped censure. As for Mahone, the victory, won largely due to his efforts in supporting Johnson's stunned men, earned him a lasting reputation as one of the best young generals of Lee's army in the war's last year.


    Aftermath

    Crater with Union soldier in 1865Despite the battle being a tactical Confederate victory, the strategic situation in the Eastern Theater remained unchanged. Both sides remained in their trenches and the siege continued.


    Related
    The 2003 film Cold Mountain (based on the novel by Charles Frazier) contains a vivid recreation of the Battle of the Crater.
    <div class="signaturecontainer">President of the HCBF &quot;DEATH TO FALSE METAL!&quot; Club<br><br><br><br>Originally posted by Burdizzos- What's the difference between B-Bottom and a Dildo?<br><br>A dildo was good enough to be in Phoenix Rizin'</div>

  • #2
    bumpers
    <div class="signaturecontainer">President of the HCBF &quot;DEATH TO FALSE METAL!&quot; Club<br><br><br><br>Originally posted by Burdizzos- What's the difference between B-Bottom and a Dildo?<br><br>A dildo was good enough to be in Phoenix Rizin'</div>

    Comment


    • #3
      How the hell did we loose the war to idiots that CHOOSE to fight from the lowground?...HOW?
      Well, I'm not sure how much I can respect any man who takes Lug seriously - King Kashue
      Sucking like that is a gift. You couldn't recognize the genius of Suck if it sat on your face and farted. -S400
      You don't fix Lug's posts. Lug's posts fix you. - MrJoshua
      You can be my HCBF boyfriend forever. - Sugarskull
      http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=LUG

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by lug
        How the hell did we loose the war to idiots that CHOOSE to fight from the lowground?...HOW?




        On a side note that scene from Cold Mountain that shows this battle was the only cool part of that bore fest
        <div class="signaturecontainer">President of the HCBF &quot;DEATH TO FALSE METAL!&quot; Club<br><br><br><br>Originally posted by Burdizzos- What's the difference between B-Bottom and a Dildo?<br><br>A dildo was good enough to be in Phoenix Rizin'</div>

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by B-Bottom




          On a side note that scene from Cold Mountain that shows this battle was the only cool part of that bore fest


          But it was such a great love story.



          Would have been better had Nicole and Renee hooked up instead of that coward coming back to town.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by burdizzos


            But it was such a great love story.



            Would have been better had Nicole and Renee hooked up instead of that coward coming back to town.


            he ended up croking anyway, ********************. I rememebr having to sit through City of Angels. And when Meg ryan died i was like WTF? Stupid movies
            <div class="signaturecontainer">President of the HCBF &quot;DEATH TO FALSE METAL!&quot; Club<br><br><br><br>Originally posted by Burdizzos- What's the difference between B-Bottom and a Dildo?<br><br>A dildo was good enough to be in Phoenix Rizin'</div>

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by B-Bottom


              he ended up croking anyway, ********************. I rememebr having to sit through City of Angels. And when Meg ryan died i was like WTF? Stupid movies


              Yeah, you cried.

              Sissy.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by burdizzos


                Yeah, you cried.

                Sissy.



                it's just that Nick Cage gave up everything because his love was so deep for Meg ryan. Ahh if only we could all be so lucky to find such a perfect man...ur um person.....

                <div class="signaturecontainer">President of the HCBF &quot;DEATH TO FALSE METAL!&quot; Club<br><br><br><br>Originally posted by Burdizzos- What's the difference between B-Bottom and a Dildo?<br><br>A dildo was good enough to be in Phoenix Rizin'</div>

                Comment


                • #9
                  another awesome history post....

                  hey man, got any nice WW2 stories???

                  Comment


                  • Davo17
                    Davo17 commented
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