Barnard's Sketch of the Crater --National Archives
July 30th, 1864. Artists' Depictions of The Crater.
"After the repulse on the 30th, Gen. Burnside sent a flag of truce to ask leave to remove our wounded and bury our dead. On the 1st of August a reply was given and working parties, white and colored, sent out. Our Artist sketches the terrible scene. The bodies, after lying in a midsummer sun for two days were terribly altered; swarms of flies gathered around those remains of the gallant fellows who fell. The rebel works swarmed with men, and in front was a line of guards. In the intervening space, between this and our line, the men were busily at work, committing to earth the remains of their comrades. Near the guards our officers met rebel officers at the flag. Among the latter were Gen. Cooper and Gen. Mahone, among the former Gen. Ferrero. Our dead amounted to 300 in all, less than had been supposed. The time given for the truce was from five A.M. to nine, after which hostilities commenced, but in reality only random musketry firing was heard." -- Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, September 3, 1864.
"Those bodies that were recognized and could be lifted on to stretchers without falling to pieces, were carried into our lines and buried. Pits were dug twentv or thirty feet long and about four feet deep for the rest. The poor fellows were then rolled, and in some cases, shovelled onto the stretchers, and dumped or laid in the holes, one on top the other, until within a foot of the top, and then covered with loose earth. In course of time these bodies decayed. Subsequent storms washed the loose covering of earth down through, and for months after, until the end of the war, long rows of bleaching skeletons marked this field of awful slaughter."--Forty-six months with the Fourth R. I. volunteers, in the war of 1861 to 1865 Corp. Geo. H. Allen, of Company B. 1887, 293.
Postwar Photographs of the Crater
LC 56346. "Civil War veterans of the 57th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment with Confederate General William Mahone at the crater caused by Union soldiers exploding a mine at Petersburg, Virginia," photograph by W. H. Tipton, 1887