Siege of Petersburg, Virginia Page2
Photos/text this page courtesy of Jack Snyder, IN
   

(5-2001) Petersburg National Battlefield Tour Stop-8: The Crater
 
View of the crater today. Erosion from 135 years and the removal of 669 bodies in 1866 have drastically changed the appearance of the depression
 
Panorama of The Crater
 
1865 view of The Crater

(5-2001) Petersburg National Battlefield Tour Stop-8: The Crater
 
Entrance to the tunnel Union forces dug in an attempt to undermine a Confederate salient and blow it up. The plan was initially suggested by a Union soldier who had been a coal miner before the war. It took the miners about a month to dig the 511 foot and the 2 side galleries. The Confederates were guessed the Union intent and dug a couple of countermines, narrowly missing one of the galleries. At the last minute the plan was changed to send several regiments of white soldiers (instead of the US Colored troops) who had trained for the mission. The explosion created the crater as planned, but the untrained troops rushed down into the crater instead of going around. The sides were very steep and the troops were trapped in the crater and most were killed or captured by the rebels when they got their wits together

        

 

(5-2001) Petersburg National Battlefield Tour Stop-8: The Crater
 
Another view of the tunnel entrance with me (Jack Snyder) standing beside it for scale

(5-2001) Petersburg National Battlefield Tour Stop-8: The Crater 
 
Close-up of tunnel entrance, shot thru the bars showing NPS artistic endeavors. Note Hardtack Box with handles used to carry out the dirt for disposal away from the entrance and out of the rebels view. For ventilation a smaller vertical shaft was dug approximately 100 feet or so into the tunnel. A fire was kept burning there and the rising hot air created a draft in the tunnel keeping the miners supplied with fresh air

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