BATTLE OF THE CRATER. BY W. A. DAY, SHERRILL'S FORD, N. C.
355 Confederate Veteran, August 1903
Capt. Wright's masked battery of six guns stood on the hill above the ravine on the left, just in the rear of the main line, with an enfilading fire on the enemy's works. When our orders came we moved rapidly along the works, which made a bend just above the ravine in front of Capt. Wright's battery, and soon came in full view of the crater over on the other hill. The place where the battery stood was now a hole in the ground, one hundred feet long, sixty feet wide, and thirty feet deep, with the smoke rising in great clouds out of it. By that time it was light enough to see a considerable distance, and our men could be seen running rapidly to the rear, and the whole field in front full of Yankees and Negroes charging up to the crater. The great burly Negroes in their ill fitting uniforms, half drunk it was said, were shouting at the top of their voices, "No quarter to the Rebels! No quarter to the Rebels!" and butchering every man they found alive in the works. The soldiers who fought in that battle will never forget it. That dreadful shout, "No quarter!" from the Negro troops rang in our ears for days afterwards. We plainly saw the position we were in. To be captured by the Negro troops meant death not only to ourselves but, it appeared, to the helpless women and children in Petersburg.
"NO QUARTER" & BLACK UNION PRISONERS
"Ok, lemme guess, the Petersburg National Battlefield Park Staff probably forgot to mention the little thing about "NO QUARTER TO THE REBS!?" God forbid we give anyone any other facts and perspective on what happened other than the politically correct / approved one! " -- A New York Contributor
Senator Wm. Mahone
"There were five Federal surgeons, prisoners taken not at the Crater, but belonging I think to Wilson's Cavalry Raiders, which Fitz Lee had cornered and cut to pieces, or captured, near Reams Station a few days before. I approached these doctors and asked them if they would not like to take a hand in some surgery offering them as inducement all the liberty and privileges compatible with the rules of war."
"They said they would be glad to do so and I put them to work in he hospital under Dr. Robert Page, who was the Confederate surgeon."
"I did not visit the hospital until the next day about noon , when I received a message from Mr. George Bolling that "I had better look after matters there." On reaching the place I was shocked beyond expression to find about an hundred and fifty wounded Negroes who had been brought in since I left and were lying about on the grounds, most of them naked; and with every conceivable form of wounds and mutilation, shrieking, cursing, and praying in their agony and delirium, their wounds undressed and festering under a summer sun. "
"The Federal surgeons whom I had engaged the day before were lounging in front of their quarters, doing nothing. Pointing to the scene of horror, the result of their neglect, I asked them what it meant, reminding them of their promise to take charge of their wounded and of the essential privileges afforded to them."
"Their spokesman replied that they "were sick, and tired, and disgusted and that they were prisoners of war, and were not in duty bound to do any work". "Very well," I replied, "but you should have said this yesterday when I approached you. As prisoners of war I know very well what to do with you," and asked for a sergeant and a guard to be sent to take away five medical officers."
"One of them asked, "Major, where are you going to send us?" "To the prison at Andersonville, Georgia, tomorrow morning," I replied. "Do not send me", he said, "give me another opportunity", a request which they all joined in."
"The next morning, everything was in ship-shape order and all survivors comfortably bedded in the hospital......"
"The captured surgeons later complained to Major Claiborne about having to eat out of tin cups & dishes and that white & colored soldiers were linked together indiscriminately in adjoining beds.
Claiborne submitted their written complaint to General Lee who sent Major Breckenridge of his staff to investigate. They were told that the complaint came with bad grace from men who had marauded the surrounding country with Wilson's Raiders, destroying the food of innocent, unarmed people, pillaging and stealing spoons and table ware and even communion services from churches.
Further, General Lee had ordered that no distinction be shown between white soldiers and colored soldiers, that if they could fight side by side, they could sleep slide by side."
What happend to the wounded USCT soldiers
captured by the Confederates at the Battle of the Crater?:
-- Dr. John Herbert Claiborne,