Female Civil War Soldier’s Body Found At The Battle Of The Crater

Unearthed from a mass grave at the Crater,  gravediggers discovered the body of a female soldier in Sept 1866, and noted she had been shot through the head, just like another female body found at Resaca Georgia, the workmen noted the body was in a “remarkable state of preservation”, and described as having a “delicate face”. She was buried along with her fellow soldiers with whom she fought and died. Her identity lost to history.

-They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the American Civil War By DeAnne Blanton, Lauren M. Cook

The Battle of the Crater was a battle of the part of the Siege of Petersburg. It took place on July 30, 1864.

After weeks of preparation, on July 30, Union forces exploded a mine in Maj. Gen.Burnside’s IX Corps sector, blowing a gap in the Confederate defenses of Petersburg, Virginia. From this propitious beginning, everything deteriorated rapidly for the Union attackers. Unit after unit charged into and around the crater, where soldiers milled in confusion. Grant considered the assault “the saddest affair I have witnessed in the war.” The Confederates quickly recovered and launched several counterattacks led by Brig. Gen Mahone. The breach was sealed off, and Union forces were repulsed with severe casualties. Brig. Gen. Edward Ferrero’s division of black soldiers was badly mauled. This may have been Grant’s best chance to end the Siege of Petersburg. Instead, the soldiers settled in for another eight months of trench warfare. Burnside was relieved of command for the last time for his role in the debacle, and he was never again returned to command

A group of tourists posing on earthworks along the rim of the crater which was exploded at the start of the Battle of the Crater during the Siege of Petersburg near Petersburg, Virginia, c. 1860′s. By David H. Anderson.

SvtFoE Fan Theory: Toffee

So as I mentioned previously I have a mess of a theory about Toffee that I’ve developed after the premiere of season 3 and since so many of you seemed interested I figured I’d share it. Putting it below the cut for spoilers sake and because it’s LONG.

Keep reading


Words: 2053

Series: K Project

Pairing: MikoTotsu

There is nothing here but cold and snow. No wind. No sound. Nothing but the stifling, cold silence around him.

He recognizes this place of course. He had just fought here only minutes ago, or so it felt like. While he could not see any sign of Munakata or even a battle outside the large crater he had made, he knows this is the spot he died.

Was this it? Was this all death was? Or had he been cursed for his sin? Surely forcing Munakata’s hand had not earned him points with whatever maker created him. Or perhaps this was limbo. The fate of a fallen king. No one knew what came after death after all. No one knew what became of the kings who lost their control. Maybe those chosen by the slate were doomed to this from the start.

If that was true, could it also be true for a King’s clansmen?

The very thought makes his heart twist. Tatara deserved to have a peaceful afterlife. Not stuck in a limbo such as this. Though, he hadn’t seen any sign of the male at all in this heavy, foggy place.

He looks down, noticing the wound at his midsection, now painless but still there. The blood was still wet, still recent as if the sword had just run him through. He really must be dead then. There was no other logical explanation.

There isn’t much to be done just standing here so he takes a few steady steps, walking through the fog, walking the perimeter of the past battlefield. He had done far more damage than even he had expected, splitting the ground and blowing the trees to bits. He had leveled a small area in his bid for revenge. Better that, than Munakata letting his sword fall and wiping out all of Japan.

Tatara would be upset with him if he could see this. See the damage his powers had caused. All those years. All the times he spoke to him, telling him his powers were there to protect his clan, his family. Yet, here he was in the middle of his own destruction. His own suicide. He doesn’t have to think hard to know it would have made his smaller lover sad to see him reduced to this.

He hears a crunch behind him, the sound of a foot falling through snow and it makes him tense instinctively, turning his head. He hadn’t seen any sign of life in the stagnant, limbo world and now suddenly right behind him? He was lazy but he wasn’t unobservant. Did sound not travel properly here?

His eyes widen considerably, staring at the form stepping through the fog. The size..the walk…how he carries himself…

“Tatara.” His voice is heavy with pain, shock, and want all mixed into a cocktail of emotion. This was Totsuka. Even though the fog still made him difficult to see, this was definitely Totsuka.

“It seems…I get to see you much sooner than I had hoped.” Were the first word’s out of his lover’s mouth as he came to stand in front of him, arms heavy at his sides and ever present smile on his face. His eyes showed nothing but sadness and pain, however, staring up at Mikoto with what seem to be the start of tears. His lips did not meet his eyes as they usually did and that familiar smile now had a whole new meaning to it.

Mikoto can’t say anything. Can’t hope to come up with any thought through the noise bouncing around in his head. He was here. In front of him after weeks of being without him. The last image he got to see being him placed in the coffin they set for him. Pale. Eyes forever closed. The smallest of almost smiles present even then. Now he was here. The sickly paleness of his skin had faded, his cheeks back to the healthy glow he remembered so well.

Then there’s the wound. The blood. Red staining the dark blue of his jacket from the injury that had started it all. The thing that had taken his life so quickly that night. He can’t pull his eyes away. Would things have been different…if he hadn’t let Totsuka walk home alone? It was dangerous for them at night. They had cautioned him time and time again but still…they had all waved him from the bar with smiles and well wishes, fully expecting him to be there in the morning. They had let him leave. Mikoto had let him go. Would things have been different…had he been there on that roof that night?

“It doesn’t hurt.” That warm familiar voice sounds and his eyes are drawn up again to meet honey brown irises. “It’s there…it has been since I got here…but it doesn’t hurt.” Even though the blood looked fresh as if it had just been spilt. “I think…it’ll go away once we leave here.”

He sees the confusion yet mild relief on his king’s face and his smile becomes softer. “I was waiting. What kind of vassal doesn’t wait for his king? I’m not meant to lead, I’m here to follow. I told you I would follow you wherever you went.”

Warm hands lift to Mikoto’s face, hands he had seen go through hobby after hobby. Hands that were strong enough to hold Mikoto back with but a touch, yet gentle enough to care for Anna with loving fingers running through her hair. They were the hands of someone who could not keep still, lightly callused yet still almost soft to the touch and Mikoto can’t help but lean into them.

“It wasn’t supposed to be this way, King.” That sad lilt to his voice, the way he says it, hurts. He knows he may have been able to last a few months longer, pushing himself if he truly tried to, for Izumo, Anna and the others but…he couldn’t. He had not been strong enough on his own. Suoh Mikoto, the man everyone on the streets feared, had been rendered helpless with the loss of one human being.

“I couldn’t.” It’s the only thing Mikoto can get out of his mouth. The only thing that would come to him despite his want to actually speak up. To say so much for the first time in years. “I couldn’t…Tatara..” He had failed. For years, his younger lover had told him the true intentions of his powers. How he was meant to protect with them and not destroy. The crater they were standing in was testament that it was a false claim. No matter how he wished to believe it, there was no denying the devastation his revenge had caused.

The fire storm had been too strong for him to control. Night after night, for two weeks straight he fought tooth and nail to keep any emotion in check, to keep any strand of his power from breaking free. It was as if his very soul sensed the loss of his chain, the beautiful chain that kept him tethered to the sane world.

Anna had even taken to curling with him at night, trying to take Tatara’s place as a buffer for his power, his nightmares. It had worked somewhat, allowing him some sleep but as soon as it became apparent his power would soon overwhelm her as well he quickly distanced himself, locking the door and letting no one near unless they had to be. On the outside, very little had changed other than the tenseness of his shoulders, but on the inside there was nothing but boiling rage. Without Tatara, that rage continued on unchecked.

Totsuka’s hand settles over the wound in his king’s abdomen, fingers staining red with blood as he shook his head. He wanted to say something. Mikoto could see he wanted to say something but was at a loss of what to say for once. He saw tears finally leak from the corner of his eyes, trailing down his cheeks in silent pain and it makes his chest clench in agony. Many things belonged with Tatara. Smiles. Laughter. Tears was not one of these things. He did not cry often, but when he did it tore Mikoto to shreds.

Then Totsuka lifted his head, smiling at him through the tears. “You saved them.” He said quietly and Mikoto can’t help the widening of his eyes at the words. “You did exactly as I said. You protected them. You…didn’t let your sword fall. What you did…was cruel to some but…in the end, you didn’t let it fall on anyone. You made it fall when and where you wanted…doing what you wanted. I don’t…I can’t approve but you protected them. You and Munakata both.”

He felt as if someone had kicked him firmly in the chest as he stared at him, trying to comprehend. He had been rash. Had practically tried to tear down a school. Even he knew the things he had done were inexcusable. Yet here Tatara stood, showing him what little good did come from the revenge he had wrought. He had never thought of it in that manner. He let his sword fall. Had failed them all in the name of killing the person who stole his happiness from him and yet…

He pulls him close, arms wrapping around Totsuka tight as he clenched his eyes shut, feeling the unfamiliar prick of tears. This was familiar. This calming reassurance. This beautiful, wonderful person who acted as if their very existence was meant to take care of Mikoto when really it should have been the other way around. Totsuka was someone, in his opinion, who had been too good for the world they had occupied. People like him were uncommon in the grand scheme of things. He deserved to be protected from everything.

“It wasn’t…the same. I couldn’t..” Tatara reached up his hands, sliding them in red hair to help hold him as tight to him as he can manage.

“I know, King. I know. I was watching.”

Mikoto can’t help but snort at the nickname, fingers massaging Totsuka’s head lightly as he pulls back to look at him. “I’m not a king anymore. There’s no reason to use that ridiculous title anymore.” All he got in response was the widening of Totsuka’s smile before he pulled him down, pressing lips to his firmly.

Mikoto let out a gasp into his lover’s mouth before tightening his hold, hand coming beneath Totsuka’s chin to hold him close. He needed to keep him there. Needed to show him how much he was loved, no matter what life they were in. He poured every emotion he can into it, feeling a freeing feeling at doing so. It felt nice, to let his emotions free without worry of whether he would burn everything around him to ash. He doesn’t want to pull away but eventually they do and he’s left with Tatara’s blissful, smiling face in his sight again.

“Silly Mikoto, you act as if you being chosen ever mattered. You’ve always been a king to me.” Long before he was chosen by the slate. Before they knew of any powers in this city. Mikoto had been a king to him even if Mikoto thought it nothing but a foolish nickname.

Mikoto closed his eyes with a sigh, shaking his head and smiling his first, genuine smile in a very long time. “That so? Guess there’s nothing for it then. Looks like I’m stuck being your king for a while, hm?”

Totsuka took his hand and pulled away, giving a tug back in the direction he had come before taking his place at the redhead’s side. “Mmm, seems that way but..we do have an eternity to think about it.” He threw out his arm, bowing and gesturing the way in a dramatic flourish that would have earned him a knock in the head any other time. “Lead the way.”

Mikoto resisted the strong urge to smack him, deciding instead to throw an arm around his shoulder and take a step, dragging him along. “Come on then. Or are you falling down on the vassal job you never stop talking about?”

All he gets is a laugh that’s music to his ears as Totsuka follows him, walking together to where they belong.


Milton Holland - United States Colored Troops- 

Recipient Of America’s Highest Military Decoration—The Medal Of Honor —For His Actions At The Battle Of Chaffin’s Farm


Holland was born as the son of Bird Holland, a white slaveowner (killed in action at the Battle of Mansfield) and an African-American slave. He joined the Army from Athens, Ohio.  At the Athens County Fairgrounds he signed to the recruitment rolls 149 young black men and raised what was to become Company C of the 5th United States Colored Infantry

RANK/UNIT: Sergeant Major, 5th U.S. Colored Troops.

CITATION: "Took command of Company C, after all the officers had been killed or wounded, and gallantly led it.“

MEDAL PRESENTED: 6 April 1865.

BIOGRAPHICAL DATA: Born: Austin, TX. 1844.

Holland was an 18-year-old shoemaker when he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He stood 5'8” tall. Holland and the 5th were present at the famous “Battle of the Crater” in Petersburg, VA on 30 July 1864, but were not used in the disastrous Union charge. At Chaffin’s Farm (Fort Harrison), Holland and the 5th suffered heavy casualties during the assault and subsequent hand-to-hand combat. “But, with a courage that knew no bounds, the men stood like granite figures. They routed the enemy and captured the breastworks. The courage displayed by young Holland’s regiment on this occasion called for the highest praise from Gen. Grant, who personally rode over the battlefield in company with Generals Butler and Draper.”

By order of General Butler, Holland was promoted to Captain, but because of his color was refused the commission by the War Department. Holland was later present when General Joseph E. Johnston C.S.A. surrendered to General William T. Sherman. Sergeant-Major Holland was mustered out of service at Carolina City, NC, on September 20, 1865.

An order from Gen. Benjamin Butler, dated 11 October 1864, had this to say:

Milton M. Holland, sergeant-major, Fifth U.S. Colored Troops, commanding Company C; James H. Bronson, first sergeant, commanding Company D; Robert Pinn, first sergeant, commanding Company I, wounded; Powhatan Beaty, first sergeant, commanding Company G, Fifth U.S. Colored Troops–all these gallant colored soldiers were left in command, all their company officers being killed or wounded, and led them gallantly and meritoriously through the day. For these services they have most honorable mention, and the commanding general will cause a special medal to be struck in honor of these gallant colored soldiers.

Official Records, #89, p168.

During the war, Holland wrote to, and was published in, his local newspaper, the Athens, Ohio Messenger. Milton, M. Holland, Sergeant Major, 5th USCT Library of Congress

Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1978, Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979 p. 119.
Mitchell, Joseph B. Lt. Col., The Badge of Gallantry, New York: MacMillian & Co., 1986 pp. 141-3.
Bearss- Edwin C., “Black Medals of Honor Received a New Market Heights, 29 September 1864.” National park Service Memo in Richmond NBP files, 2 April 1979.
Davis, William C., Death in the Trenches: Grant at Petersburg. Alexandria, VA Time-Life books, 1986. p. 124.


Today in History, July 30th, 1864, — The Battle of the Crater

In 1864, with the Union Army under the command of Gen.  Ulysses S. Grant, the Union went on the offensive in Northern Virginia in a attempt to capture the Confederate capitol of Richmond.  Despite fighting Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army to a standstill, Grant continued to press Lee’s left flank, keeping Lee on the defensive and pushing closer and closer to Richmond.  Then in early June the offensive came to a screeching halt when the Union Army attempted to take the City of Petersburg, a mere 23 miles away from Richmond.  The Confederates had turned Petersburg into a heavily armed fortress, with over ten miles of trenches complete with bunkers and anti infantry obstacles.  Despite a number of heavy assaults by Union forces, the Confederates were able to hold their ground.  Unable to decisively take Petersburg, Union forces dug their own trenches and built their own fortifications.  Foreshadowing the bloody combat tactics of World War I, both sides settled into trench warfare and bloody attrition.

In mid June the commander of the 48th Pennsylvania infantry offered a novel solution to the stalemate.  Lt. Col. Henry Pleasants was a mining engineer before he joined the army, and many of his men, recruited from Schuylkill County, PA were also coal miners.  Pleasant’s idea was to dig a tunnel under the Confederate fortifications, load it with explosives, then blast the Confederates straight to Hell in small pieces.  The resulting break in Confederate lines would leave their defenses vulnerable to a Union assault, thus ending the siege.

Digging of the tunnel began in late June and was completed by late July.  Once the tunnelers reached the Confederate lines, they dug another tunnel that ran parallel to the Confederate trenches above, thus making a “T” shape.  The main approach shaft was 511 feet long and located 50 feet below the ground.  Once the tunnel was completed, it was loaded with 320 kegs (8,000 lbs) of gunpowder.  On July 30th, 1864 the fuse was lit at 3:45 AM.  An hour later a massive explosion occurred amidst the Confederate lines.  The resulting explosion instantly obliterated 278 Confederate defenders, and left thousands of other in state of shock from the massive blast.  In the middle of the Confederate trenches was a large blast crater around 170 feet long and 30 feet deep.

To conduct the assault Union Gen. Ambrose Burnside chose the United States Colored Division and the US 1st Division.  Burnside trained his Colored Division for weeks in preparation for the battle, choosing them to be at the head of the assault.  The US Colored Division had by then gained a reputation as experienced and courageous veteran soldiers who could be counted upon to achieve the most daring and dangerous missions.  However, at the last minute, Gen. George Meade, Burnside’s boss, ordered the US 1st Division to the front, a unit with little experience and training.  Meade had little confidence in the plan, and didn’t want to waste the US Colored Division in a failed assault.

The plan was that when the two units approached the crater, one battalion was to go around the crater to the left, while the other was to go right.  When the inexperienced 1st Division approached the crater, they quickly occupied it, believing it to be the ideal rifle pit.  Meanwhile the men of the US Colored Division followed their orders and went around the massive pit.  The blame for the failed plan rested on the shoulders of the 1st Division’s commander, Brig. Gen. James H. Ledlie, who failed to brief his men on the assault, and spent much of the battle well behind the lines and drunk in his bunker.

After an hour the stunned Confederates rallied their forces and organized a counterattack against the Union assault.  Confederate troops surrounded the pit, which by then was a confused and panicked mass of men crowded shoulder to shoulder.  In what Confederate Brig. Gen. William Mahone would term “a turkey shoot”, the Confederates rained the pit with musket fire, grenades, artillery, and mortars.  The helpless soldiers trapped in the crowded pit could little defend themselves against the hail of Confederate lead.  If the suffering of the men trapped in the pit was bad, the fate of the Colored Division was even worse.  Without the support of the 1st Division, the Colored Division was quickly outnumbered and surrounded.  Many of the men were able to break free and retreat, however a number of regiments were forced to surrender.   Many Confederate officers, angered by the thought of former slaves fighting for the Union, gave orders to execute black soldiers and officers who surrendered.  Most of the black soldiers who surrendered at the Battle of the Crater were executed by bayonet on the spot.

Eventually a Union relief force was able to free the men trapped in the crater.  By the time battle had ended, Union forces suffered 3,798 casualties (504 killed 1,881 wounded, 1,413 missing or captured).  Confederate losses were also high, with a total of 1,491 casualties (361 killed,727 wounded, 403 missing or captured).  The Battle of the Crater turned out to be the Union most embarrassing defeat; an intricate and complex plan that was to bring about a surefire victory, failed because of bad leadership and a drunkard.  After the battle, Gen. Ambrose Burnside would receive most of the blame for the defeat, and was censured and relieved of his command and spent the rest of the war in a desk job.  He would later be cleared of fault by a war committee, who instead blamed Gen. Meade for the last minute substitution of the US Colored Division with the 1st Division.  Gen. Ledlie “The Drunkard” was charged with dereliction of duty and his commission was revoked.  

The Siege of Petersburg would last 9 months total, finally coming to an end on March 25th, 1865.  The fall of Petersburg left Richmond vulnerable, leading to its capture of Richmond on April 2nd.  Robert E. Lee then surrendered a week later.

Black troops are sent forward during the Battle of the Crater. In the original battle plan, the African-American troops were to be the first unit to charge the Confederate lines following the blowing of the mine underneath. They had been well briefed, and knew to go around the outskirts of the crater. At the last minute however, it was decided white troops were to be the first into the breech with their black compatriots to follow after, and during the ensuing battle, the unprepared forces charged straight into the depression, only to find it turned into a killing field. 

(Collection of Mark Lardas)

So I’m going to put this out there and say the most awesome battle of the Civil War was the Battle of the Crater.

Basically, the Union dug a tunnel under the Confederate trenches, put a bunch of dynamite at the end of the tunnel, and then blew up the trenches. 

The Union soldiers subsequently got distracted by the awesomeness of the crater while they were advancing on Confederate lines and then a bunch of them got killed.

I have to admit, I would have been distracted too.

Recent Acquisition - Photograph Collection

Original caption: “The Battle of the Crater. Petersburg, VA. - The interested spectators are viewing the explosion of a mine in the distance beneath a Confederate Battery during a dress rehearsal of the Battle of the Crater, famous and spectacular episode of the War Between the States, reenacted in the National Military Park here April 30, under the auspices of the National Park Service. A sham battle, with all of the excitement but none of the horror of the original, featured the dedication of the battlefield as part of the Petersburg Park.  April 30, 1937.”