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]

Battle of the CraterFacts

July 30, 1864

Key facts about the Battle of the Crater.

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Also Known As

  • Battle of the Mine

Date

  • July 30, 1864

Location

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

Campaign

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)

Result

  • Confederate victory

Significance

  • 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.

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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Battle of the CraterFacts
  • Coverage July 30, 1864
  • Author
  • Keywords Battle of the Crater
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 31, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 19, 2021
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