Battle of the Crater
Part of the American Civil War,
Date July 30, 1864
Location Petersburg, Virginia
Result Confederate victory
34StarsUnited States CSAConfederate States
Commanders and leaders
USArmySealAmbrose Burnside
USArmySealJames Ledlie
CSA battle flagRobert E. Lee
CSA battle flagWilliam Mahone
The Battle of the Crater was part of the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia during the American Civil War. It took place on July 30, 1864, between the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee, and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major General George Meade (under the direct supervision of the General-in-Chief, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant).

After weeks of preparation, on July 30, Union forces exploded a mine in Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside's IX Corps sector, blowing a gap in the Confederate defenses of Petersburg. From this propitious beginning, everything deteriorated rapidly for the Union attackers. Unit after unit charged into and around the crater, where soldiers milled in confusion. Grant considered the assault "the saddest affair I have witnessed in the war." The Confederates quickly recovered and launched several counterattacks led by Brig. Gen. William Mahone. The breach was sealed off, and Union forces were repulsed with severe casualties. Brig. Gen. Edward Ferrero's division of black soldiers was badly mauled. This may have been Grant's best chance to end the Siege of Petersburg. Instead, the soldiers settled in for another eight months of trench warfare. Burnside was relieved of command for the last time for his role in the debacle, and he was never again returned to command.

Battle of the Crater in The Guns of the SouthEdit

Due to the Rivington Men's time traveling interference, the Battle of the Crater never happened. However, the story of how it would have played out was recorded in the smuggled chronicle of the original history which CS President Robert E. Lee consulted. From this, he learned that a man named Henry Pleasants had come up with the strategy of digging a long mine shaft underneath enemy lines and planting explosive charges directly underneath a fort. When Lee saw that Pleasants was now in the CS force besieging Rivington, he ordered that Pleasants' name be omitted from all communications, lest the Rivington Men anticipate Pleasants' use of the Crater plan.[1]


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