The 48th Pennsylvania in the Battle of the Crater

A Regiment of Coal Miners Who Tunneled Under the Enemy


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About the Book

In June 1864, Grant attempted to seize the Confederate rail hub of Petersburg, Virginia. General P.G.T. Beauregard responded by rushing troops to Petersburg to protect the vital supply lines. A stalemate developed between the entrenched armies. Union commander General Ambrose Burnside advanced the idea of allowing the 48th Pennsylvania—a regiment from the mining town of Pottsville—to tunnel under Confederate entrenchments and place explosives there. The plan should have guaranteed Union victory, yet the battle turned into an astonishing Confederate triumph. This thorough history of the Battle of the Crater shows how bickering among Federal commanders allowed shattered Confederate troops the opportunity to regroup, costing the Union an opportunity to capture Petersburg and bring an early end to the war. It also reveals how the cooperation of Confederate commanders helped to avert certain defeat. Appendices include a list of forces in the Battle of the Crater, a table of casualties, and a list of soldiers decorated for gallantry during the conflict.

About the Author(s)

Writer and journalist Jim Corrigan lives in Etters, Pennsylvania. He is a native of Schuylkill County, home of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment.

Bibliographic Details

Jim Corrigan

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 197
Bibliographic Info: 33 photos, maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [2006]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6910-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9178-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      ix
A Note on Terminology      xi
Introduction      1

1. Battleground Petersburg      5
2. Unconventional Warfare      17
3. Tunneling Toward Destiny      29
4. Plan of Attack      43
5. Twelve Frantic Hours      55
6. “Muffled Thunder”      67
7. Early Response      79
8. Charge of the USCT      91
9. Confederate Counterstrike      103
10. End Game      113
11. Aftershocks      123
12. Censure and Commendation      133

Epilogue      143
Conclusions      151
Appendix A. Organization of Engaged Forces      159
Appendix B. Casualties Incurred at the Battle of the Crater      167
Appendix C. Soldiers Decorated for Gallantry at the Battle of the Crater      169
Notes      173
Bibliography      179
Index      183

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “well-written and well-researched…highly recommended”—Civil War News
  • “a wealth of research…meticulous accounting of details…scholarly and welcome addition”—Midwest Book Review
  • “highly detailed…engaging account…a very good read”—The NYMAS Review
  • “very well-written and nicely-illustrated”—The Civil War Courier