Letter, August 2, 1864, T. W. Brevard, "In front of Petersburg," to "My Dear Mother" (Page 2 of 4)

Date: August 2, 1864

Series: (M92-1) Box 6, Folder 1, Item 12

Lincoln Letters

Lincoln Letters

Letter, August 2, 1864, T. W. Brevard,

Page Two

The “situation” here is unchanged. The armies occupying the same relative positions held five weeks ago. Grant varied the monotony which had so long “dragged its slow length along” by a few days since exploding a mine beneath one of our batteries. The affair was managed very well and came very near resulting seriously to us but in the end proved a decided disaster to Genl Grant himself. Great secrecy was observed by the enemy relative to the operation, and although they were several weeks in excavating the mine, it was completed through without detection, with several tons of powder. A few days since, it was sprung, a little after good day-light. The battery was destroyed and the men in it blown up. The enemy poured in through the breach in large numbers and succeeded in establishing themselves upon a portion of our line. [1] A portion of our division was ordered promptly to the point assailed, and after some obstinate fighting

 

Footnotes

[1] Brevard is describing the Battle of the Crater, the most dramatic episode in the siege of Petersburg. On July 30, 1864, Union troops set off hundreds of kegs of gunpowder under a portion of the Confederate lines east of Petersburg, Virginia. The explosion ripped open a gap in the Rebel trenches but in the process created a large crater, which the Federals charged into, losing momentum as they tried to climb up the steep walls. In the resulting confusion, the Confederates counterattacked and restored their line after inflicting terrible punishment on the Federal infantry, who left behind thousands of dead and wounded.