Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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.

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21, 1864: "Digging, apparently at some depth, was heard . . .

Major General Bushrod Johnson, C.S. Army
On this day 150 years ago, Bushrod Johnson included a disturbing detail is his daily report from his division's section of the Confederate lines at Petersburg, Virginia. Johnson's men thought they could hear digging deep underground near their positions and Johnson asked for and engineer officer to be sent to investigate.
HEADQUARTERS JOHNSON'S DIVISION, July 21, 1864.

COLONEL: No change has been observed on the part of the enemy since last report; the sharpshooting slackened yesterday, but toward night became as brisk as usual. General Gracie requests that the engineer be sent to his line to sink a mine, as digging, apparently at some depth, was heard in his front yesterday.

The following casualties are respectfully submitted: Elliott's brigade, wounded, 2. Ransom's brigade, killed, 1. Wise's brigade, killed, 1 (carelessly); wounded, 1. Gracie's brigade, wounded, 5 (2 carelessly). Total, 2 killed and 8 wounded.

The following is a statement of the amount of shells and lead picked up on yesterday: Wise's brigade, 10 shells and 5,300 balls. Elliott's brigade, 10 fuses, 2,300 bullets, 14 solid shot, 100 fragments shells, 5 Wiard shells, 5 shrapnel, and 9 Parrott shells. Ransom's brigade, 15 Hotchkiss shells and some lead.

I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. R. JOHNSON,

Major-General.

Friday, July 18, 2014

July 18, 1864: Transfer of command in Georgia


In Georgia, the Confederates managed the process of changing army commanders in the middle of a campaign.
ATLANTA, July 18, 1864.

General S. COOPER:

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of my appointment as general of the Army of Tennessee. There is now heavy skirmishing and indications of a general advance. I deem it dangerous to change the commanders of this army at this particular time, and to be to the interest of the service that no change should be made until the fate of Atlanta is decided.

Respectfully,

J. B. HOOD,

General.

RICHMOND, July 18, 1864.

General HOOD:

Your telegram of this date received. A change of commanders, under existing circumstances, was regarded as so objectionable that I only accepted it as the alternative of continuing in a policy which had proved so disastrous. Reluctance to make the change induced me to send a telegram of inquiry to the commanding general on the 16th instant. His reply but confirmed previous apprehensions. There can be but one question which you and I can entertain-that is, what will best promote the public good; and to each of you I confidently look for the sacrifice of every personal consideration in conflict with that object. The order has been executed, and I cannot suspend it without making the case worse than it was before the order was issued.

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

(Same to Generals Hardee and Stewart.)


NEAR ATLANTA, July 18, 1864.

General S. COOPER,

Richmond:

Your dispatch of yesterday received and obeyed. Command of the Army and Department of Tennessee has been transferred to General Hood. As to the alleged cause of my removal, I assert that Sherman's army is much stronger compared with that of Tennessee than Grant's compared with that of Northern Virginia. Yet the enemy has been compelled to advance much more slowly to the vicinity of Atlanta than to that of Richmond and Petersburg, and has penetrated much deeper into Virginia than into Georgia. Confident language by a military commander is not usually regarded as evidence of competency.

J. E. JOHNSTON.