“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Petersburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

The Crater

The Crater Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
1. The Crater Marker
This marker is located on the walking trail at "The Crater" Tour Stop.
Inscription. “There was utmost consternation. Some men scampered out of the lines; some, paralyzed with fear, vaguely scratched at the counterscarp as if trying to escape. Smoke and dust filled the air.”
- Col. William McMaster, 17th South Carolina Infantry

At 4:40 a.m. on July 30, 1864, the men of Captain Richard Pegram’s battery and two South Carolina regiments lay sleeping here at Elliot’s Salient. A moment later, this place turned into a smoking hole 170 feet long, 80 feet wide, and 30 feet deep. Two hundred and seventy-eight Confederates died in the blast. Two 1,700-pound cannons were hurled completely out of the works.

The depressions of four of the magazines (rooms that held the powder) exploded by Colonel Pleasants’s men are still visible inside the Crater.
Erected by Petersburg National Battlefield - National Park Service - Dept. of the Interior.
Location. 37° 13.115′ N, 77° 22.65′ W. Marker is in Petersburg, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Siege Road, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in Petersburg National Battlefield. It is located on a walking trail that starts at Tour Stop 8. Marker is in this post office area: Petersburg VA 23803, United States of America.
Other nearby markers.
Site of the Crater Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
2. Site of the Crater
On July 30, 1864, a Union mine blew up under the Confederate Lines here. The explosion resulted in an enormous Crater, the remains of which are still visible today.
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. “A Stupendous Failure” (here, next to this marker); Confederate Counterattack (here, next to this marker); Crater of Mine (here, next to this marker); Confederate Countermine (a few steps from this marker); Mahone (within shouting distance of this marker); Second Pennsylvania Veteran Heavy Artillery (within shouting distance of this marker); South Carolina (within shouting distance of this marker); Mahone’s Brigade (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Click for a list of all markers in Petersburg.
More about this marker. The background of the marker is a picture of soldiers camping in the vicinity of the Crater. It has a caption of After the battle on July 30, the Confederates incorporated the Crater into their earthworks. Years of erosion and the removal of 669 bodies from the Crater and surrounding fields in 1866 have altered the site’s appearance.

The lower left of the marker features a post-war photograph of the Crater with the caption Since the 1860s the Crater has been a popular spot for tourists. This photo was taken in 1867. Note the skull at the bottom of the picture.

Like many other markers in Petersburg National Battlefield, this one has a Petersburg Time Line at the bottom. The Battle of the Crater is indicated
Union Tunnel Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
3. Union Tunnel
Union soldiers dug a tunnel from their lines to a point under the Confederate position, in which the mine was exploded. The remains of the tunnel are also still visible today.
on it.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Battle of the Crater by markers.
Also see . . .
1. Crater. CWSAC Battle Summaries. (Submitted on April 12, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. Petersburg National Battlefield. National Park Service. (Submitted on April 12, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

3. Battle of the Crater. The Civil War Siege of Petersburg (Submitted on April 12, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
Categories. War, US Civil
Blandford Church and Cemetery Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 24, 2007
4. Blandford Church and Cemetery
The Blandford Church is on the high ground just beyond the Confederate works. It was the objective of the Union breakthrough at the Battle of the Crater.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,583 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   4. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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