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THE AWFUL EXPLOSION.
Captain George L. Killmer, of Marshall's Brigade, says: "The awful explosion, when it came, confused our men more than it did the Confederates, except the few Confederates who were blown up. We were in a state of expectancy, awaiting orders, when suddenly the ground rocked under foot and an immense mass of earth, timbers, cannon and soldiers in gray, enveloped in dust and powder smoke, leaped into the air, and hung there, as it seemed, ready to fall and bury our lines in the ruins. Hundreds shrunk back, appalled and unmassed. Colonel Elisha C. Marshall, who was also colonel of my regiment, sprang upon the wall in front, and waving a signal, shouted Forward.' Officers and soldiers, to the number of a couple of hundred, joined him instantly, climbing the barrier by the help of bayonets and upon one another's shoulders. Without looking to see how many followed, the party dashed forward to the pit, and there found a great hole encircled by a wall made of the falling earth and debris. We struck the left flank of the breach and planted our flag there."
Then after describing intervening events, Captain Killmer says:
PANDEMONIUM IN THE PIT.
"In the pit pandemonium reigned. Men shot on the crest tumbled in upon the wounded, lying in torture at the bottom. The day was hot. Sulphurous gases escaped from the debris and there was no water at hand, the way back to the Union lines was swept by fire and was corduroyed with dead. Refusing to retreat, men sought death by charging forward. Officers threw away their lives by mounting the walls to inspire the men to move out and relieve the horrible jam in the pit. One of these martyrs was a mere boy, Lieutenant Pennell, an aid to General Thomas. So many bullets struck him that his body whirled around like a top before it fell.
Lieutenant-General U. S. Grant, commanding the United States Army, in his report to General Halleck, under date of August 1, 1864, at City Point, Va., says:
"The loss in the disaster of Saturday last foots up about 3,500, of whom 450 men were killed and 2,000 wounded.
"It was the saddest affair I have witnessed in the war.
"Such opportunity for carrying fortifications I have never seen and do not expect to again to have.
"The enemy, with a line of works five miles long, had been re
duced, by our previous movements to the north side of James river, to a force of only three divisions. This line was undermined and blown up, carrying a battery and most of a regiment with it.
"The enemy were taken completely by surprise and did not recover from it for more than an hour.
"The Crater and several hundred yards of the enemy's line to the right and left of it, and a short detached line in front of the Crater, were occupied by our troops without opposition.
"Immediately in front of this, and not 150 yards off, with clear ground intervening, was the crest of the ridge leading into town, and which, if carried, the enemy would have made no resistance, but would have continued a flight already commenced.
'It was three hours from the time our troops first occupied their works before the enemy took possession of the crest.
"I am constrained to believe that, had instructions been promptly obeyed, Petersburg would have been carried, with all the artillery and a large number of prisoners, without a loss of 300 men.
'It was in getting back to our lines that the loss was sustained. "The enemy attempted to charge and retake the lines captured from them, and were repulsed with heavy loss by our artillery. Their loss in killed must be greater than ours, whilst our loss in wounded and captured is four times that of the enemy.”—Official Records, Serial Number 80, page 17.
"The enemy" which took possession of the crest was evidently Mahone's Brigade, and the charge repulsed mentioned by General Grant must have been that of Wright's Brigade.
Next morning was a bright and beautiful Sabbath, and nothing worth noting occurred. Many of the Federal dead remained on the field, putrefying under the scorching rays of the sun.
I remember a negro, between the lines, who had both legs blown off. He crawled up to the outside of our works, struck three muskets with bayonets in the ground, and threw a small pice of tent cloth over them to shelter his head from the hot sunshine. After awhile, in an interval, when the shots from the enemy had slackened, one of our soldiers managed to push a cup of water to him, which he drank and immediately commenced to froth at the mouth, dying in a very short time after.
He had lived in this mangled condition for nearly twenty-four hours and for a part of the time almost baking under the hot sun.
DEAD BODIES SEVERAL LAYERS DEEP.
On Monday morning a truce was granted, and the Federals sent out details to bury their dead between the lines. They dug a long ditch and placed the bodies crosswise, several layers up, and then refilled it. After they had finished burying their dead and were moving off, General Mahone noticed that they had left the dirt piled high enough for breastworks on the slope of the hill, midway between the two lines of battle. He quickly discovered the danger of this, as it would have afforded shelter for another assaulting column. He stopped the burial detail and made them level the ground, as they found it.
General Pendleton, Chief of Artillery of General Lee's army, was standing near, and paid a high compliment to Mahone's foresight.
THE LAST ACT IN THE GREAT BATTLE.
This was the last act in this celebrated battle-a battle won by the charge of three small brigades of Virginia, Georgia and Alabama troops, numbering less than 2,000 muskets, with the aid of the artillery, which rendered effective service to the charging columns, over an army of 70,000 men behind breast-works, which surrendered to this small force nineteen flags.
General B. R. Johnson, who commanded the lines which were broken by the explosion and upheaval of the Crater, in his report of the battle, said: "To the able commander and gallant officers and men of Mahone's Division, to whom we are mainly indebted for the restoration of our lines, I offer my acknowledgments for their great service."
Secretary of War James A. Seddon said: "Let appropriate acknowledgment be made to the gallant general and his brave troops. Let the names of the captors (of the flags) be noted on the roll of honor and published.”
Nowhere in all the history of war were greater odds driven out of fortifications and defeated. The charge of the three brigades of Mahone's Division is a record of triumph unsurpassed in warfare.
GENERAL T. J. ("STONEWALL ") JACKSON,
HIS CAREER AND CHARACTER.
An Address by Hunter McGuire, M. D., LL.D.
This address, as felicitous in its delineation of the character of one of the greatest soldiers of the age as it is acute and comprehensive in its recountal of his achievements, has been several times delivered by its distinguished author before large and representative audiences, first on June 23, 1897, at the dedication of the Jackson Memorial Hall, at Lexington, Va., next before R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Veterans, at Richmond, Va., on July 2d, and since, at other places. It has been enthusiastically received on every occasion.
The close official relation of Medical-Director McGuire with General Jackson afforded the best possible advantages for an intimate knowledge of the character of the great leader.
The address itself is a striking evidence of the versatility of the genius of one of the foremost surgeons and physicians in this era of medical progress.
It is now printed from a corrected copy furnished by Dr. McGuire.
I understand, and I beg this audience to understand, that I am here to-day, not because I have any place among the orators, or am able to do anything except "to speak right on," and "tell you that which you yourselves do know;" but because the noblest heritage I shall hand down to my children is the fact that Stonewall Jackson condescended to hold me and treat me as his friend. I know, and you know, that as long as valor and virtue are honored among men, as long as greatness of mind and grandeur of soul excite our admiration, as long as Virginia parents desire noble examples to set before their sons, and as long as there dwells in the souls of Virginia boys that fire of native nobleness which can be kindled by the tales of heroic endeavor, so long will Virginia men and women be ready to hear of the words and the deeds of Virginia's heroic sons, and therefore ready and glad to hear how valorous and how virtuous, how great and how grand in every thought and action was the Virginian of whom I speak to-night-to know in what awesome Titanic mould.
was cast that quiet professor who once did his duty here; that silent stranger whom no man knew until "the fire of God fell upon him in the battlefield," as it did upon Arthur-the fire by which Sir Launcelot knew him for his king-the fire that like the "live coal from off the altar touched the lips" of Jackson and brought from them that kingly voice which the eagle of victory knew and obeyed. For a king was Stonewall Jackson, if ever royalty, anointed as by fire, appeared among men.
When Egypt, or Persia, or Greece, or Rome was the world; when the fame of a king reached the borders of his own dominion, but scarcely crossed them; when a great conqueror was known as far as his banners could fly; friends (or enemies) could assign a warrior's rank amongst mankind and his place in history. These latter ages have agreed that a Rameses, a Cyrus, an Alexander, or a Constantine shall be styled "The Great"-accepting therein the estimate put upon them by the contracted times in which they lived, supported, perchance, by the story of their deeds as laboriously chiseled on some long buried slab, recorded on some hardly recovered sheets of ancient parchment, or written on some dozen pages of a literature, the language of which serves the purposes of the ghost along the Styx, as they tell each other of glories long departed.
To-day the world is wide, and before the world's tribunal each candidate for historic honors must appear. The world's estimate, and that alone, posterity will accept, and even that it will hereafter most carefully revise.
The young Emperor of Germany, seeking to decree his grandfather's place in history, would have him styled "William the Great." Here and there, in one nation and another, press and people combine to deify some popular hero and offer him for the plaudits or the worship of the age. It is a vain endeavor. The universal judgment cannot be forestalled. No force or artifice can make mankind accept as final the false estimate instead of the true. Money, powerful, dangerous and threatening as it now is in this republic, cannot for long buy a verdict. The unbiased world alone is capable of stamping upon the forehead of man that mark which neither the injustice of adverse interest, nor envy's gnawing tooth, nor the ceaseless flow of the river of time are able to efface.
Therefore, it was with swelling heart and deep thankfulness that I recently heard some of the first soldiers and military students of England declare that within the past two hundred years the English speaking race has produced but five soldiers of the first class-Marl