The Crater Part 3

Confederate Counterattack

     The Federals who advanced beyond the crater took cover along this Confederate reserve line just a few feet away. The Confederates were quick to respond to the attack.  Eventually, William Mahone arrived with his division and attacked the Federals at about 9 A.M., pushing them back into the crater.

Mahone's Attack

This is the area to the Confederate rear of the Crater area.  On the far right is the Crater area, shown by the monument and earthworks.  Just off the picture to the left is a vital road along which General Lee observed the battle.  Mahone's division did not approach from this direction.  Instead, off the picture in the distance, they advanced along the road until they came to a ravine which approached the area behind the Crater.  the ravine split in two near the Crater.  This can be seen as the two dips in the ground in the center of the picture.  It was here that Mahone deployed and attacked.   

The Crater

     This is the crater from the Union side.  The Confederate earthworks are just beyond the center.  On the right of the picture, there is a monument which is also in the previous picture.  The field beyond the monument is where Mahone counterattacked.  At 10 A.M., Mahone brought up mortars and bombarded the Yankees in the crater.  At 1P.M., Mahone attacked again.  The Confederates moved to the edge of the crater and fired at any Yankee who exposed himself.  Eventually, the Rebels jumped into the crater and fought hand to hand, and the Federals surrendered.  Bodies were four and five deep at the bottom of the pit.

     The Union lost nearly 3,800 men while the Confederates lost about 1,500.  Incompetence had ruined an excellent opportunity to take Petersburg and end the war, but fortunately for the Union, Burnside and Ledlie were removed from command.  The siege of Petersburg would last another eight months.

topo map  The small ravine west of the crater was wher the launched there counterattack.  The ridge east of the crater across the railroad is the location of Fort Morton and the large Union artillery concentration.

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