Battle of the Crater Facts

July 30, 1864

Crater Battle facts, including dates, location, casualties, leaders, who won, and more interesting facts you might not know. This fact sheet provides a quick overview of the battle and is for kids doing research and students preparing for the AP U.S. History (APUSH) exam.

Portrait of Ambrose Burnside

Following the Battle of the Crater, Union officials relieved Major General Ambrose Burnside of his command and he would never lead troops in battle again. [Wikimedia Commons]

Also Known As

  • Battle of the Mine


  • July 30, 1864


  • Confederate defenses east of Petersburg, Virginia, known as Elliott’s Salient


Principal Union Commanders

Principal Confederate Commanders

Union Forces Engaged

  • 9th Corps (Army of the Potomac)

Confederate Forces Engaged:

  • Department of North Carolina And Southern Virginia
  • Pendleton’s Artillery
  • Mahone’s Brigade of the 3rd Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia

Number of Union Soldiers Engaged

  • Roughly 8,500

Number of Confederate Soldiers Engaged

  • Roughly 6,100

Estimated Union Casualties

  • 3,798 (504 killed, 1,881 wounded, 1,413 captured/missing)

Estimated Confederate Casualties

  • 1,491 (361 killed, 727 wounded, 403 captured/missing)


  • Confederate victory


  • The blast at the Battle of the Crater occurred at 4:44 a.m. on July 30, 1864.
  • The blast at the Battle of the Crater created a gaping chasm more than 170 feet long, 60 feet across, and 30 feet deep.
  • At least 278 Rebel soldiers were killed instantly by the blast at the Battle of the Crater, some being blown as high as 100 feet in the air.
  • The United States Colored Troops suffered 1,327 casualties at the Battle of the Crater, some of whom were murdered as they attempted to surrender, or after they were captured.
  • Following the Battle of the Crater, Ambrose Burnside was relieved of his command and would never lead troops in battle again.
  • The Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War criticized Major General George Meade for his decision to replace Ferraro’s colored troops with white soldiers.

Timeline of the Petersburg Campaign

These are the main battles and events of the Petersburg Campaign in order.