Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 30, 1864: The Battle of the Crater, 8:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.


By 10:00 a.m. it is clear that the assault at the site of the mine has failed and the Union leadership turned to the problem of withdrawing the attacking troops.
HEADQUARTERS NINTH ARMY CORPS, July 30, 1864-8.45 a. m.

General MEADE:

One gun has just been taken out of the mine and is now being put in position. Have not heard anything from the attack made from the left of mine. One set of colors just sent in, captured by the negroes.

W. W. SANDERS,

Captain and Commissary of Musters.


HEADQUARTERS NINTH ARMY CORPS, July 30, 1864-9 a. m.

General MEADE:

The attack made on right of mine has been repulsed. A great many men are coming to the rear.

W. W. SANDERS,
Captain, &c.


HEADQUARTERS NINTH ARMY CORPS, July 30, 1864-9 a. m.

General MEADE:

Many of the Ninth and Eighteenth Corps are retiring before the enemy. I think now is the time to put in the Fifth Corps promptly.

A. E. BURNSIDE,

Major-General.

SIGNAL STATION, July 30, 1864.

Major-General BURNSIDE:

GENERAL: The columns I reported a few moments since are still moving and at double-quick. I judge them to be, in all that have thus far crossed the road, full a division and a half. Their right has been very much weakened.

J. C. PAINE,

Captain and Signal Officer.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 30, 1864-9.30 a. m.

Major-General BURNSIDE, Commanding Ninth Corps:

The major-general commanding has heard that the result of your attack has been a repulse, and directs that, if in your judgment nothing further can be effected, you withdraw to your own line, taking every precaution to get the men back safely.

A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.

General Ord will do the same.

A. A. HUMPHREYS,

Major-General and Chief of Staff.

JULY 30, 1864.

General BURNSIDE:

Two more brigades of infantry are moving toward our front, coming from the city and passing in front of the gothic house, on the left of the road that passes over the bluff. The troops I reported as having penetrated the enemy's line up to the buildings were evidently prisoners, as I have since observed other small squads going to the same place without arms.

J. C. PAINE,

Captain and Signal Officer.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 30, 1864-9.45 a. m.

Major-General BURNSIDE, Commanding Ninth Corps:

The major-general commanding directs that you withdraw to your own intrenchments.

A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 30, 1864-10 a. m.

Major-General BURNSIDE:

You can exercise your discretion in withdrawing your troops now or at a later period, say to-night. It is not intended to hold the enemy's line which you now occupy any longer than is required to withdraw safely your men.

GEO. G. MEADE,

Major-General.

(Same to General Ord.)

July 30, 1864: The Battle of the Crater, 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.


HEADQUARTERS NINTH ARMY CORPS, July 30, 1864.

General MEADE:

I am doing all in my power to push the troops forward, and, if possible, we will carry the crest. It is hard work, but we hope to accomplish it. I am fully alive to the importance of it.

A. E. BURNSIDE,
Major-General.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 30, 1864-7.30 a. m.

Major-General BURNSIDE:

What do you mean by hard work to take the crest? I understand not a man has advanced beyond the enemy's line which you occupied immediately after exploding the mine. Do you mean to say your officers and men will not obey your orders to advance? If not, what is the obstacle? I wish to know the truth, and desire an immediate answer.

GEO. G. MEADE,

Major-General.


HEADQUARTERS NINTH ARMY CORPS, Battery Morton, July 30, 1864.

General MEADE:

Your dispatch by Captain Jay received. The main body of General Potter's division is beyond the crater. I do not mean to say that my officers and men will not obey my orders to advance. I mean to say that it is very hard to advance to the crest. I have never in any report said anything different from what I conceived to be the truth. Were it not insubordinate I would say that the latter remark of your note was unofficerlike and ungentlemanly.

A. E. BURNSIDE,
Major-General.

JULY 30, 1864-7.40 a. m.

General BURNSIDE:

Will you do me the favor to send me a copy of my note to your per Captain Jay? I did not keep any copy of it, intending it to be confidential. Your reply requires I should have a copy.

GEO. G. MEADE,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS, July 30, 1864-7.40 a. m.

Major-General BURNSIDE:

Your orders have been delivered. I think it of great importance that the artillery on the right, which enfilades the space between our old lines and the crater, be silenced. There is a battery in the woods by the ravine on right.

C. G. LORING.

Possibly also the rebel battery by railroad cut, opposite Ledlie's old right, can fire over here. Cannot the mortar battery be stirred up?

SIGNAL STATION, July 30, 1864.

Major-General BURNSIDE:

GENERAL: The enemy are moving at least two brigades of infantry from their right and our Ninth Corps front and right. They are now passing around where the road goes toward the town west of those chimneys.

J. C. PAINE,

Captain and Signal Officer.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 30, 1864-8 a. m.

Major-General BURNSIDE:

Since writing by Captain Jay, Captain Sanders has come in and reported condition of affairs. He says Griffin has advanced and been checked. This modifies my dispatch; still I should like to know the exact morale of your corps. Ord reports he cannot move till you get out of the way. Can't you let him pass out on your right, and let him try what he can do?

GEO. G. MEADE,
Major-General.

July 30, 1864: The Battle of the Crater, 6:15 a.m. to 6:50 a.m.


JULY 30, 1864-6.15 a. m.

General BURNSIDE:

General Hartranft is moving forward independent of Ledlie; he was detained getting his regiments into order; he has now all but two regiments over the enemy's line; Ledlie has sent orders to move at once; infantry and artillery fire enfilades from the right on Humphrey's; Twenty-seventh Michigan moves to the left; other regiments forward.

CUTTING,

Aide-de-Camp.


HEADQUARTERS NINTH ARMY CORPS, July 30, 1864-6.20 a. m.

Major-General MEADE:

If General Warren's supporting force can be concentrated just now, ready to go in at the proper time, it would be well. I will designate to you when it ought to move. There is scarcely room for it now in our immediate front.

A. E. BURNSIDE,
Major-General.

SIGNAL STATION, July 30, 1864.

Major-General BURNSIDE:

GENERAL: There is one gun in the battery on the left of the road that enfilades the line over which the re-enforcements are going to the brigade already in the enemy's works and doing great execution. I have called Captain Brooker's attention to it, urging the necessity of silencing the gun, if possible. The enemy have greatly increased the small work on the right of their second line during the night, but there are no guns in it, nor can I see any troops there. No movements of troops anywhere along their line visible.

J. C. PAINE,

Captain and Signal Officer.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 30, 1864-6.50 a. m.

Major-General BURNSIDE:

Warren's force has been concentrated and ready to move since 3.20 a. m. My object in inquiring was to ascertain if you could judge of the practicability of his advancing without awaiting for your column. What is the delay in your column moving? Every minute is most precious, as the enemy undoubtedly are concentrating to meet you on the crest, and if you give them time enough you cannot expect to succeed. There is no object to be gained in occupying the enemy's line; it cannot be held under their artillery fire without much labor in turning it. The great point is to secure the crest at once, and at all hazards.

GEO. G. MEADE,
Major-General.

July 30, 1864: The Battle of the Crater, 5:40 a.m. to 6:10 a.m.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 30, 1864-5.40 a. m.

Major-General BURNSIDE:

What news from your assaulting column? Please report frequently.

GEO. G. MEADE,
Major-General.

BATTERY MORTON, July 30, 1864-5.40 a. m.

General MEADE:

We have the enemy's first line and occupy the breach. I shall endeavor to push forward to the crest as rapidly as possible.

A. E. BURNSIDE,

Major-General.

P. S.-There is a large fire in Petersburg.

W. W. SANDERS,

Captain, &c.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 30, 1864-5.40 a. m.

Major-General BURNSIDE,
Commanding Ninth Corps:

The general commanding learns that your troops are halting at the works where the mine exploded. He directs that all your troops be pushed forward to the crest at once. Call on General Ord to move forward his troops at once.

A. A. HUMPHREYS,

Major-General and Chief of Staff.


HEADQUARTERS, Fourteen-Gun Battery, July 30, 1864-5.50 a. m.

General MEADE:

The Eighteenth Corps have just been ordered to push forward to the crest. The loss does not appear to be heavy. Some prisoners coming in.

W. W. SANDERS,
Captain, Sixth Infantry.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 30, 1864-6 a. m.

Major-General BURNSIDE:

Prisoners taken say there is no line in their rear, and that their men were falling back when ours advanced; that none of their troops have returned from the James. Our chance is now; push your men forward at all hazards (white and black) and don't lose time in making formations, but rush for the crest.

GEO. G. MEADE,

Major-General.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 30, 1864-6.05 a. m.

Major-General BURNSIDE,
Commanding Ninth Corps:

The commanding general wishes to know what is going on on your left, and whether it would be an advantage for Warren's supporting force to go in at once.

A. A. HUMPHREYS,

Major-General and Chief of Staff.


HEADQUARTERS, Fourteen-Gun Battery, July 30, 1864-6.10 a. m.

General MEADE:

General Burnside says that he has given orders to all his division commanders to push everything in at once.

W. W. SANDERS,
Captain and Commissary of Musters.

July 30, 1864: The Battle of the Crater, 4:15 a.m. to 4:35 a.m.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 30, 1864-4.15 a. m.

Major-General BURNSIDE:

Is there any difficulty in exploding the mine? It is three-quarters of an hour later than that fixed upon for exploding it.

A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 30, 1864-4.20 a. m.

OPERATOR AT GENERAL BURNSIDE'S FIELD HEADQUARTERS:

Is General Burnside at his headquarters? The commanding general is anxious to learn what is the cause of delay.

A. A. HUMPHREYS,

Major-General and Chief of Staff.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 30, 1864-4.35 a. m.

Major-General BURNSIDE:

If the mine cannot be exploded something else must be done, and at once. The commanding general is awaiting to hear from you before determining.

A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 30, 1864-4.35 a. m.

Major-General BURNSIDE,

Commanding Ninth Corps:

The commanding general directs that if your mine has failed you make an assault at once, opening your batteries.

A. A. HUMPHREYS,

Major-General and Chief of Staff.

July 30, 1864: The Battle of the Crater 3:20 a.m.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 30, 1864-3.20 a. m.

Major-General BURNSIDE:

As it is still so dark, the commanding general says you can postpone firing the mine if you think proper.

A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.


HEADQUARTERS NINTH ARMY CORPS, July 30, 1864-3.20 a. m.

Major-General HUMPHREYS:

The mine will be fired at the time designated. My headquarters will be at the fourteen-gun battery.

A. E. BURNSIDE,

Major-General.