tv The Civil War CSPAN August 20, 2014 8:00pm-9:16pm EDT
hosting this really wonderful event. our speakers, dr. frank cooling, neumann, kym elder. please join me one last time in a round of applause for them. thank you. [ applause ] >> with live coverage of the u.s. house on cspan and the will of the crater. union forces detonated xploes toifz create a gap in the defenses but at tack failed with heavy losses for union troops.
tonight watch as the national park service commemorates 150th anniversary of the battle. we'll also take a look at how the attack failed and why the u.s. colored troops were unjustly blamed. author kevin levine on the contribution of the u.s. colored troops and immediately following the civil war. >> here are some of the highlights for twheekd. friday on c-span and prime time, we'll visit important sites in the history of the civil rights movement. saturday night at 8:00, highlights from this year's new york ideas forum including cancer biologist andrew hessel. on sunday, q&a with new york congressman charlie wrangle at 8:00 p.m. eastern. friday night at 8:00 on c-span2, "indepth." saturday on "afterwards" at 10:00, retired neurosurgeon and columnist ben carson. and saturday, lawrence goldstone on the competition between the wright brothers and glen curtis to be the predominant name in
manned flight. american history tv on c-span3 on friday at 8:00 eastern. a look at hollywood's portrayal of slavery. saturday night at 8:00, the 200th anniversary of the battle of blade ensberg and the burning of washington. and the former white house chiefs of staff discuss how presidents make decisions. find our television schedule one week in advance at c-span.organize and let us know about the programs you're watching. call us or e-mail us. join the c-span conversation, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. >> next, an event commemorating the 150th anniversary of the battle of the crater and honoring the role of the u.s. colored troops. the battle of the crater took place july 30th 1864 as part of the siege of petersburg. this ceremony includes the unveiling of a stamp and remarks
by james blankenship who details the major events of the battle. held at petersburg national battlefield this is an hour and 15 minutes. >> good morning, ladies and gentlemen. >> for those of you with us at 5:30, we welcome you goen the park. i was remarking a few minutes ago to one of my colleagues much like it was for the soldiers 150 years ago who were in the overland campaign that started in early may of 1864, it's been a long road to petersberg. we started this -- we started our 150th events for three parks
on may 3rd at spotsylvania courthouse, part of fredericksburg national military park. and we have moved south ever since. and it's been quite a feat for the national park service. we've tried to make tanl program of the overland campaign rather than looking at it as the wilderness, spotsylvania, north an yashgs cold harbor, petersburg. this is one continual process march for these soldiers 150 years ago. and i know for some of new the audience this morning, we've seen your faces before. we know you've been on the road with us and we certainly appreciate that. [ applause ] >> this morning i'd like to introduce the superintendent of
petersburg national battlefield lewis rogers. lewis began his park service career in 1984. seasonal interpretive park ranger at allegheny portage railroad. first permanent position at those same sites the following year in 1985. serving as a park ranger and later as a resource management visitor protection specialist at the sites there. 1990 he moved to the blue ridge parkway here in virginia. while there, he served as a law enforcement ranger with the added duties of supervising law enforcement and the interpretive seasonal rangers along the parkway and also responsible for a living history appalachian farm and seasonal visitor contact stations. he became the chief ranger of booker t. washington in 1992 whereas the chief of interpretation he was responsible for the interpretation, visitor protection, resource management, fire management and feat
collection operations. he became a supervisory park ranger of law enforcement. and then moved to valley forge in 1997, first as a supervisory park ranger and later as the chief ranger where he managed law enforcement and interpretation and in 2009, took on the role of interim superintendent at st. gaugz historic site in new hampshire. he became superintendent of national battle kneeled 2010 and most recently he served as our acting deputy regional director, the chief of staff to our regional director here for the northeast region. he holds a bachelors degree in parks and recreation and slippery rock university in pennsylvania. he also have a graduate of the federal law enforcement training center with both basic law enforcement and criminal investigator background. it's my privilege to introduce you to the superintendent, lewis rogers.
>> thanks, chris. i appreciate that introduction. i am very, very honored to be here today. and i want to take some time while i'm here to let you know just what this means to me. when i was a child, i can remember sitting in front of the tv. and this goes back a ways back when black and white movies still dominated tv. this goes back a ways, you know, when 12:00 came and the tv actually went off. i can remember sitting in front of the tv late at night and i remember watching those old war movies. i remember watching the ledger necks john wayne as he flew through the air. i remember watching those guys as they fought in battle. and as the soldiers fought and cried and died and fought for freedom, i can remember all those things. and i fell in love with those
movies. it inspired me. it motivated me. but then one day a peculiar thing happened. i can remember during that time that we began to intergrate our schools. i can remember the forced bussing. i can remember how it affected me and how i watched the social and racial unrest that plagued our country. i can remember the american flag being carried in the hands of ku klux klan members. i remember as it waved at the beginning. these images began to enter my mind and poisoned my imagination. when i began to watch my fighters on tv again, a small quiet voice echoed in the back of my mind. it told me, if you were there, you would not have done these things. these images were not for you. perhaps you would have been a porter or a dishwasher. but if you were there, you never would have flown those planes.
because of these images, i believe that. i believe that i never would have fought in combat. i believe that i never would have served on a naval ship. i served in any position of distinction and honor. and that voice had a peculiar effect on me. i found myself drawing away from america. although i faced the flag, i would not repeat the words. i felt this country rejected me. i felt i was lost. a stranger in a strange land. i could not understand why i was here. when i saw the stars and stripes waving in the breeze, when i saw the stars and stripes on porches of people's houses as i pass by or in the fourth of july parade, i believe that that flag did not wave for me. it stood for a different society and a different people but it
did not represent me. and then one day i picked up a book. it was a small magazine. it was put out by a man of tony brown. it was called tony brown as journal n that book, he dedicated that entire book to the story of the tuskegee airmen. i read that book and learned about the 332nd fighter group, the 100th and 301st and 302nd fighter squadrons. i learned that the 322nd flew the kobe raz and thunder bolts and the than north american p-51 mustang and a peculiar thing happened to me. i began to dream again. and i began to learn about all the accomplish. s of after the can americans had made over the years. i could now see myself in history and perhaps i could have served in the first rebelling men at valley forge under general george washington
because now i knew they were there. perhaps i would have served a board the u.s. constitution in the war of 1812. i fought off the british in louisiana in 1815 because i could see myself there. or perhaps i could have served right here in petersburg in 1864 in the u.s. ch's color troop and 2930th, 31st or 34th infantries or in 1866 i could have helped settle the west as a buffalo soldier fighting in the ninth or tenth cavalry. perhaps i would have been henry o. flipper born a slave but later graduated from west point in 1877 as commissioned second lieutenant in the u.s. army. again, perhaps i would have found myself in a spanish american war as a buffalo soldier coming to teddy roosevelt in rough riders. perhaps i would have found myself in world war i. serving in the american forces and fighting under a french commander in europe and later
dubbed the harlem hell fighters. perhaps i could have been eugene bullard, the first african-american to fly in combat during world war ii in the french army. his motto was a heart painted on the plane and a motto that read we all bleed red. perhaps i would have been the first black sailor to receive the navy cross for his heroism during pearl harbor. perhaps i would have been at mondayfort point. or perhaps i would have been some of the young black women or known some of the young black women in the army's army corps, the 6888 who deployed to europe during world war ii. perhaps i would have been part of the 320th, vla all black bloom barrage. according to the u.s. army, the 320th is the only battalion to land on the beaches of utah and omaha on d day. perhaps i would have been part of the 93rd infran tribuilding air strips in the solomon island
and fighting the enemy to keep them from destroying what i just built. perhaps i would have been part of the red ball express which drove supplies from normandie to pair witness over 70% black participation. or perhaps i would have served in world war ii under general patten and the battle with the bulge. perhaps i could have served with them when they forced a hole in the line. perhaps i would have been with them as they fought through france, belgium and germany. perhaps i could have been with them when they linked up to the soviets in austria. or perhaps i could have been a part of the eighth marine ammunition company that landed in iwo jima. buffalo soldiers fought with mcarthur in korea. and daniel chappy james flew p-51st and later f-80 jets in support of troops on the ground. later he became the first american four star general. perhaps i would have been charles young, born in 1964, the third african-american to graduate from west point, the first african-american to attain
the rank of colonel. while in san francisco, he was pinlted first acting superintendent in general grant national parks. no, i couldn't have been a superintendent then. that was too long ago. but i can be one now. and as i continue to educate myself about all the contributions that african-americans in time of war had done, something peculiar began to happen to me. something peculiar began to change. when i looked at those old black and white movies again, i couldn't hear that voice anymore. my love affair with those all black and whites were rekindled. i began to love those old fighter movies once again. and this is the most peculiar part. not just the ones about black fighters. i began to embrace them all. i began to embrace the ledger
nec leather necks. i began to embrace the dirty dozen. i think what changed in me was that i had found my place in history. although i didn't see myself in every picture, i knew i was there. just out of the scene i was flying those planes. just over the hill i was driving those tanks. i found my place in history and something i could be proud of. what i've learned is that we all want to tell those parts of history that mean the most to us. from our different points of view. we want to hear those parts that fill us with pride. those parts that we want to shape the thoughts and the hearts of our children. those parts that compel us to get out of the bed in the morning and push on through another day. people want to see themselves in history. one day in october in late 1980s, i foupd nd myself in a station in pittsburgh taking a oath with a number of other sailors.
i found myself on a plane on my way off to the u.s. navy rtc in san diego. later i found myself in my wait to port wanini to a cv in the united states navy. a few years ago, i found myself in the stands at great lakes as i watched my son pass in review. just a few days ago a young man asked me why should i serve for our country which does not like me? now i know this is not true. but sometimes the voices of hate can be so loud that you can't hear the voices of reason. but i explained to him, young man, we've been serving this country since our conception. i explained to him about christmas adatux, the uscts and the buffalo soldiers and 761 battalion. he said, you know, i think i can serve. after reading about the tuskegee airmen, a peculiar thing happened to me when i was a boy.
i saw john wayne and i loved him. i saw the black sheep and i loved them. i think what changed was best described by something that chappy said and was written later in a book by benjamin davis jr., the commanding officer. he titled the book simply "an american." and he said when a reporter asked him about his title and why he titled it so simply, he said that i fought too hard for this country and i lived here and i've given. and he said i've done too much and i'm not a hyphenated american. he said i'm not a black american. i'm not an african-american. i'm not an afro-american. he said simply, i'm an american. and you know something happened to me when i went back to school. i stood a little stronger. i crossed my heart and i said those words with pride. and now when i look and i see
our invocation will be given by dr. george w.c. lions. he was pastor here in petersburg. >> pray with me in your own tradition as i pray loud in mine. gracious god, after 150 years of reflection and remembrance, we invoke your name so that you would prod our hearts to remember the lives lost in battle so that we might seek peace in our time. we acknowledge your reconciling presence always at work. even through battles. which has brought women and men together from all walks of life from every station and culture. 150 years later in harmony as
community. out of this place of sorrow, make this day a celebration. a celebration of the community of humanity. our plea remains and all feelings of sexual strife be entirely forgotten and blotted out. in the name of the one who is our ever lasting fortress and peace, amen. >> we're very fortunate this morning. we've worked very hard not only is national park service unit but we've also worked with the u.s. postal service this morning to make this event what it is today. and we're honored to have with us this morning the chief postal
inspector of the u.s. postal inspection service. inspector guy catrell. he was appointed the postal inspector of the u.s. postal inspection service in july 2010. he oversees all inspections of the postal service. you can have a seat. sorry. hopefully that's my glitch of the day. national headquarters offices have 18 field divisions and two service centers in the national forensics laboratory. about 700 postal police officers and 600 support personnel. he serves as chairman of the universal postal union, union's postal security group. prior to his appointment, served as deputy chief inspector at the national headquarters.
he overall national security programs for the postal service. native of west virginia. he grew up in new orleans. he joined the postal service in 1987 when he became a letter carrier there. 1991, became a postal inspector to new orleans division where he investigated internal and external mail theft throughout louisiana and southern mississippi. since that time chief catrell handled several positions including his appointment in charge of the washington field office during the anthrax investigation. in 2008, he served as inspector in charge of the security and crime prevention and communications group where he guided the postal service service through a platform, streamline security related programs and implemented numous cost effective and innovative solutions. his group produced security and crime prevention publications and videos and overhauled the postal inspection services external web side.
he holds a bachelors degree from the university of new orleans in psycholo psychology. it is my pleasure to introduce chief guy catrell. >> thanks, everybody. i was going to tell you to sit down but like a crowd that knows what they're doing. so if i go too long, can you walk out on me if you have to. >> it's neat for this event to be from west virginia but grow up in new orleans. kind of go both ways, right? but thanks very much for the great introduction. we stand here in the shadow of the crater in the fight for petersburg. and it's the perfect place to have the dedication today. this is the latest in a series of stamps that celebrates the 150th anniversary of the civil war. so today we commemorate two
battles in that four year conflict. right now in mobile, alabama, the postal service is dedicated a second set. and that stamp depicts the fleet at the battle of mobile bay, alabama. i'm here to dedicate this stamp. why? the inspection service played a vital role in keeping our country connected during the war and afterward. the postal inspection service has been protecting united states mail, employees and customers for more than two centuries including the civil war years. now special agents as postal inspectors were called back then were known -- they helped introduce many service that's are still used this very day. and one of those is the postal money order. and money orders have their origin in the war between the states and they were developed to make it easier for soldiers to send money home to their families.
now special gts also helped deliver mail to troops in the field. and they re-estabilshed mail service in southern communities as they returned to federal control. so the stamp we dedicate here today is rendering of the painting, the charge of the 22nd negro regimen 16th june 1864 by andre castenya. this campaign was according to historian earl j. husband, the longest, most complex, and perhaps the most important of the civil war. and here today we also have the stamp designer phil jordan with us. now the soldiers shown on this stamp were part of the 175 regimens and more than 178,000 african-american men who made up the united states color troops. these troops were fighting not just for the continuation of the nation. they were fighting for their own freedom and the freedom of their families.
the united states color troops were made up of three blacks from the north as well as escaped and freed slaves from the south. these troops formed after the emancipation proclamation. brave men put their lives on the line in order to prove that they were fit to be citizens. statesman and african-american abolitionist frederick douglas said, "once let the black man get upon his purse and the brass letter, let him get an eagle on his button and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pocket, there is no power on earth that can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship." by the end of the war, the united states color troops made up almost 10% of the strength of the union army. and the troops were instrumental in the success of many of the major late war campaigns. referring to them an officer the 22nd color infantry wrote, i never saw troops fight better, nor bravely, and with more
determination. with the issuance of this year's civil war stamps, the postal service is proud to honor the memory of these troops. it is proud to honor all the soldiers and sailors who served. both the petersburg and mobile bay stamps are issued as forever stamps. they will always be good to mail a card or letter no matter what the postage rate may be to continue to hohn yort troops. now if i could have those on stage join me along with re-enactors representing the 22nd usct, we'll unveil the civil war battle of petersburg stamp.
school at moore house college in atlanta, georgia. upon graduation, he accepted a marketing management position with verizon in washington, d.c. while in washington, d.c., received an mba from howard university. he complete the his doctoral studies with the dba and marketing from the university of phoenix. the third generation serial entrepreneur, the 28 years of age he founded a multimillion dollar food, beverage and entertainment company with five locations in washington, d.c. later he established a regional publishing enterprise that included public affairs programming, video documentaries, community newspapers and statewide travel and tourism guides for north carolina, maryland, and washington, d.c. as an avid civil war historian, he is the founding director of the cultural heritage museum in north carolina which is dedicated to the 200,000 african-american soldiers who fought with the union, army and
the american civil war. presently, dr. beech is president of the united states color troops living history association, the national organizations of re-enactors, historians, story tellers, scholars and students dedicated to preserving the history of african-american participation in the civil war. he is senior vice president of the national business league, national business trade association founded by dr. booker t. washington in 1900. also he is the past chairman of the district of columbia chamber of commerce, largest business membership organization in the metropolitan washington area. it is my privilege this morning to introduce to you dr. malcolm beech sr. >> thank you very much. dinlt realize i was that long and been around that long. you start to do these reenactments and you start
thinking about the 1800s. maybe i have been around for a while. good morning to all of you and i really wanted to thank you all for coming out. this stamp and the ceremony surrounding it means a lot to us. we are re-enactors. we are commemorators of the thousands of african-americans who fought for their freedom during the american civil war. we go all over the country not only doing reenactments but we do living history demonstrations. what we find is the impact on our audience, especially the young audience, is our superintendent said earlier, they can see themselves in histo history. when they see us, they see people that look like them and
they understand how important this particular war was to the african-american community. just to put it in perspective, before the civil war began, african-americans citizens enslaved in the united states. after the civil war was over in 1865, there was zero, okay. that is the most significant event in the history of african-americans. the union together. the south was fighting for something called state's rights. but the african-american u.s. color troops were fighting for their freedom. as well as they're manhood. slavery had a way of
emasculating the men and families when they couldn't protect their families against the cruel actions of the slave holder. so part of this war was about reclaiming and recapturing our manhood. it made a difference when you had a uniform and you have a weapon and you went on to free your family. you got a different response than just saying a few kind words to some slave holder when he saw that gun coming at him. it made a difference. we also tell people that slaves freed themselves. pride of 1863 and emancipation proclamation, the south was winning the war. lincoln decided it was a
military strategic plan to issue the emancipation proclamation at a time when you had no control over the slave areas. right? he freed all the slaves. but in that emancipation proclamation that was a clause that allowed african-americans to join the union forces, get a uniform and actually fight in the battles. so the slaves freed themselves. this is the kind of independence that we all are proud of. that's why the stamp today is so very important. it's going to tell everybody all across america that these men fought for their own freedom.
and that's what's important. i want to thank my fellow re-enactors that are here today and all the members of the united states color troops living history association for what you do and what we do. in telling the story of african-american participation in the civil war. i thank you so much for coming today. >> thank you, dr. beech. this morning to give us somewhat of a perspective on the battle of the crater, the significance that this event holds and as it
was said earlier, petersburg, it is a complex military operation. 9 1/2 months, 292 days. we're just in the beginning. but of those military actions, one stands out above all the others. that is a crater on the daily basis. we have our visitors here. they want to know where is the crater? they don't have to define it as the petersburg crater. it's here. it's in petersburg. when we were at antitum, how many corn fields do we have in the united states, but if you say the corn field, people know what you're talking about. if you say the crater, people know what you're talking about. this morning i'm privileged to introduce a long time friend, a career service member of the national park service. james blankenship jr. jimmy is native here to the petersburg area.
he began his park service career in 1975 as a seasonal park ranger at petersburg national battlefield. 1981, he accepted the first permanent position as a park ranger at independence national historical park. 1982, he returned to native state of virginia after accepting a positional colonial historical park and in 1984, his park service career returned to petersburg national battlefield. since then, he's held the positions of park ranger, historian, and now historian curator of battlefield. during his time alt petersburg, he participated in assistant projects at yellowstone national park, ft. stanwick national park, sagamore hill, george washington's birthplace, long fellow, national historic side sandy hook national sea shore and jamestown and yorktown collections.
he is currently a member of the northeast region's emergency response team. he spent more than 30 years firing civil war era artillery, primarily field artillery for 16 years he served as a national level 19th century artillery instructor with the national park service historic weapons program. he is currently in the process of completing a manuscript on the united states military railroads during the siege of petersburg. mr. blankenship holds a degree in history from virginia commonwealth university and again it is with pleasure that i introduce the park's historian and good friend jimmy blankenship. [ applause ] >> when we first started this process, they want a little talk on the battle of the crater. i said sure, i'd be glad to do that. i was told i have ten minutes. so i'm going to condense nine
hours into ten minutes. this may be a little longer. needless to say, i can not really do justice to the heroism that both sides showed out here on the fields in just ten minutes. so if you want to get more details about what happened, go on one of the tours that are being offered. now on june 19th, both sides dug in. earth works had to be built for protection since most of the landscape was baron of trees and any natural concealment. in places the lines were far apart. but in other areas, the lines were very close. the lines in front of elliott salient which is where we are, were only 25 yards distant. one regimen in the area was the 48th pennsylvania infantry. some troops in this regimen were coal miners. they thought they could mine underneath a confederate battery, filling the end of the mine with gunpowder and blow a hole into the confederate lines. the digging began on june 25th and the mine was completed by about a month later. total lengthst mine is 586 feet. they removed 18,000 cubic feet
of earth in the construction of the mine. the sounds of digging actually once they got up judged neej th confederate battery were heard by the infantrymen located in the position here. they were looking for the mine. rumors were flying and anywhere where the lines were close, they were digging. the con fed rats were digging listening galleries to see if they could hart sounds of digging. and there is one spot right out here where the confederate counter mine goes over top of the union mine. they just didn't go deep enough. the union mine was about 16 feet down at this point. the confederate listening gallery would go about eight to ten feet. so they were right on top and, yes, at night when it was quiet, they were hearing the sounds of digging below them.
now the end of the mine would be filled with 8,000 pounds of gunpowder. the initial battle plan was to blow up the gunpowder, create a large hole in the confederate lines. the initial attack would be led by african-american troops and they would roll up the confederate lines to the north back behind me to the south behind you and then the rest of the troops would go through, around the hole and capture the cemetery about 1,000 yards behind us here. if grant could get guns up on top of that ridge, he might have petersburg. the plan was changed a few days later. general me changed the plan. meet ordered burnside the commander of the union core to send in one of the white divisions to lead at sault and the attacking force was to go straight for blanford hill. other union divisions following would move to the right and left of the crater rolling up the confederate flags. now major general johnson's confederate division defended this sectionst line. ransom's north carolinians were to the north behind me. right where we are would be elliott's south carolinians and
goods virginia is to the south of the crater behind you. rights artillery battery was positioned to the north in what is now a cemetery about 600 yards behind me. you had captain richard pegrama artillery here in the sail yenlt. and you also would have davidson's battery to the south behind you. and to my right out here on what was then called jerusalem plafrpg road is flaner's batteries. so basically, the confederates had artillery on the left, right, and in the rear. so when the union troops attacked through here, they were gore to get hit on three fronts. now at 4:44 a.m. a tremendous explosion ruptured the earth throwing men, cannons and a huge chunk of clay the size of a four room schoolhouse toward the heavens. the confederate casualties from the explosion were 44 killed outright, 234 wounded for a total of 278 known casualties.
there were probably more. now when this stuff blew up an went up into the air, it's got to come down. so much went up that it took ten minutes for the debris to stop falling out of the sky. union soldiers 125 yards to my left were actually in the fallout area. they didn't stay there. they went back to the east a little ways to get out from under the debris falling. they had to wait ten minutes for that stuff to come down. once they did go on the move, they got up here to the confederate line and they saw a hole which measured about 170 to 200 feet in length, 60 feet wide and about 30 feet deep. plus remains, body parts of these confederate soldiers all over the place. some half buried, some completely buried. the division moved forward but they did not advance yont the gaping hole. once the confederate artillery opened, the division was pinned
down. potters division would move up to the right back behind me. wilcox's division would move to the left behind you. they would capture roughly about 400 yards of 500 yards of confederate line. meanwhile, general mahone who is about three miles away to the south, he received orders from lee whose headquarters was located at violet bank plantation to reinforce and plug the union breakthrough. mahone brought his old virginia brigade and now commanded by hall. a little later, he realized he was going to need more men. he did also order sanders alabama brigade to come up. now it would take them a little while to get here. the african-american fourth division commanded by feraro would now advance and they were just north of the crater just behind me here forming for an
attack. mahone is here by this point of time. there were only 800 virginians in his brigade. mahon hechlt a decision to make. he can see that there are union troops up here forming for an attack. accident know that they're african-americans. he can't tell if they're white or black. all he's doing is counting union regimental flags. 13, 14, 15. there are a lot of union soldiers up there on that crest. mahone initially wanted the virginians and georgians to attack simultaneously but the virginians on the left, georgians on the right. well, mahone has to make a snap decision here. it is fwoer hit first or get hit first? he decides it's better to hit first. he sends the virginians in without the georgians. they're not ready to go yet. these 800 virginians attacked. they hit hard and they hit with tremendous ferocity. they were actually aiming at the crater itself but there is a common misconception that union troops in that hole are non-combat ants. they are not. there are hundreds of them up on the rim of the crater and pouring out a tremendous amount of leg with the muskets.
the virginians aim at the crater but because of the sheets of ledz coming out at them, they veer to the north. they run into the ustcs in this area. there was hand to hand combat. out of the 800 virginians, half become casualties. some of after the can americans began to panic because they were hit so hard by these guys. some of the panic spread to the white union troops. the georgians then attacked. they reinforced the virginians and they would eventually take the lines to the north of the crater and also to the south of the crater. now keep in mind, i'm doing a nine hour battle in ten minutes here. so i've got to skip a lot of stuff. finally at the end, by 1:00 p.m., the alabama troops come across the fields to my left up just right there where those earth works are. they're up on top of those earth works. and the crater was still with union soldiers by this time and the blood was running down the sides and pooling in the bottom
of the hole. the con fed rats would take mortar shells. they're about 16 pound balls. they're lighting themg by hand and tossing them down into that harpoon down into that hole. you got to remember that when you're in combat you're no longer a human being, you become an animal. both sides do this. you do not survive combat if you don't make that change. by 2:00 p.m. it was all over. i'm going to read a few quotes. some of them will be gruesome but i want you to understand what it was like to be out here at that time. these fields we're in right now are killing fields. the same for north and south of the crater and same for the east side of the crater. some of these will be quoted and i will say quotes. this first one is a quote. this one guy quote there was a
pile of 20 dead men. a full line of men around the crest of the crater were loading and firing as fast as they could and the men were dropping fast most shot in the head. they rolled down to the steep side of the bottom and piled up four and five deep. at the north end of the crater right over here, union trooped pile up the bodies of their dead comrades to try to block the confederate bullets coming in through the trenches. here is another quote. this man was in the crater. there was a light head boy apparently under 18 who fired steadily for more than an hour at the rim. a bullet smashed into the young man's forehead and he fell with his head against my feet his blood gushing over them. i covered the boy's head and continued firing. it's kind of hard of us to conceive of this kind of thing. i counted 21 blacks shot at this spot. their bodies rolling and
tumbling down the steep slope. blood was everywhere and in many places ponds of it as large as an ordinary pond basin. it would turn out would be the largest number of casualties suffered by african-americans during the civil war. here is another quote. my tongue is swollen and lips cracked by the powder and bite g cartridges. my gun gets so hot i have to stop firing. a shell burst close to my head and i was tumbled over unconscious for a few seconds. another time my ramrod was shot from my hand and twice i was hit in the hand. now conditions get worse in the crater if you can believe that. here is another quote. one man was decapitated and his body fell sloping downwards and the blood rushed out from an overturned bucket. here is another quote.
one shell permeated the crater floor and dug up two bodies that had been buried by the mine explosion. everyone could see body parts flying into the air as a result of the hits by the mortar shells. general bartlet the union general was down in this hole. fortunately for him his cork leg was shattered and not his one remaining good leg. there were native-americans here too. here is a quote of the first from someone who saw the first michigan sharpshootered. a f this is a story most people probably have never really realized but there are native-americans on both sides. it was highly likely that
native-americans fought native-americans right out here. there were catabas in the south carolina and north of the crater. in the crater there were those in the 37th wisconsin infantry and also company k of the first michigan sharpshooters were in the crater so it's probably likely that you had natives fighting natives. this one company had tribes in this regiment. now this last quote is the one that probably gets to me the most. no air was stirring within the crater. it was a sickening sight. men were dead and dying all around us. blood was streaming down the sides of the crater from the bottom where it gathered in pools before being absorbed by the hard red clay. the soughter became manotonous
stretching for at least 100 yards north of the crater, the confederate works were filled with the dead and dying in places they laid so thick that it was impossible not to tread on them when making one's way through the works. inside the crater the confederates found 133 bodies. they dug down to retrieve the bodies of their own men and found the blood had penetrated the sandy clay as much as 5 inches down. in some places the union bodies were piled up eight deep. the highest concentration of remains of both sides covered in an area of 250 yards by 100 yards. there were hundreds of bodies in this area. three days later a truce was called and both sides claimed their dead. over 600 remains were buried between the lines. these remains would be
re-entered into the 1930s either to two cemeteries. now the casualties. confederate losses are really not known in their entirety at least 400 were killed. 700 wounded but some sources go as far as 1,600 out of 9,400 engaged well over 10% losses. the 6th virginia went into the battle of 80 men and 70 were killed. 5 were killed, eight were wounded so 13 out of the 15 were casualties. now the federal losses were extremely high. all together, 504 were killed.
close to 3,800 men. the african-americans suffered tremendous casualties. 433 were african-americans. 744 were wounded and many were captured for a total of little over 1,200 known casualties. now, in most civil war battles, people who surrendered some of them do get killed after they surrender. it happened all the time. it happened here. some of the african-americans were killed after they surrendered. killing the enemy soldiers after they sundererrrendered is more than you think. it happened on june 15th, the first day of fighting. it happened here at the crater. it happened on september 29th at fort archer and happened again at fort greg on april 2nd.
it happens in all wars. we here with germans killing americans after they surrendered. one of my distant cousins was over there in world war 2 and said they weren't the ohm ones doing it. the americans did it too. in conclusion the battle of the crater was a great tactical victory for lee. the siege would continue on for another eight months until petersberg and richmond finally fell to union forces on april 3, 1865. now, the long term affects of this war eventually would really became the united states of america. it's a good thing when you look at early 20th century history. would we have been able to go overdo europe and defeat the kaiser. don't know. same thing in world war ii.
could we have defeated the germans and japanese if we were a divided nation. hard to say. i really think things were much better for everyone because we were the united states instead of being two separate countries. i thank you all for being here today. thank you very much. [ applause [ applause ] ive would like to give jimmy another round of applause. when we talked about the program, ten minutes was agonizing to him. [ applause ] but in fairness to jimmy's remarks, you know, he's given us a lot to think about this morning. one of the things i would charge you with as visitors to the park today. this is 150 years to the day of this battle that what those men
talked about in their quotes red by jimmy is take sometime to walk these fields by yourself of the don't take a tour of the just give yourself a few moments to contemplate the word that's were spoken by these men 150 years ago. we will not be able to conceptualize the horror and sacrifice that was seen on this field july 30th, 1864. our keynote remarks this morning are coming from colonel paul brooks, he's the garrison commander for fort lee. brooks assumed command of the u.s. army garrison at fort lee in august 2013. just a short time ago. his army career began in 1984 when he enlisted as a military policeman. he graduated from the ut military academy with a bachelors of science in 1991 and was commissioned as a second
lieutenant in the armored corp. he also holds a masters career from the marine corp university and also from the dwight d. eisenhower school at the national defense university which he earned in june of 2013. he other schooling includes armor officer basic course, ranger school which in the words of my father is the most important, the only one that matters, scout commander certification course, master school, combined armed services staff school, survival, evasion, resistance, escape school. during his career, colonel brooke's earliest assignments between 1992 and 1995 were as a tank platoon leader with the second tank battalion as a
missile maintenance and heavy maintenance s 1 is the 27th main support battalion first california ary division at ft. hood texas. he assumed roles of increasing responsibility in north carolina as first corp support command operation's officer 528th special operation's support battalion and various command operational and staff positions in u.s. army speci. during that time he also served multiple tours in iraq and afghanistan as a member of the joint forces special operations task force in support of operation iraqi freedom and enduring freedom. the legion of merit, bronze star
medal, defense meritory service medal and army accommodation badge and my honor to introduce to you the garrison commander colonel paul brooks. [ applause ] >> thanks for that great introduction chris. it all sounds a lot better than it actually is. i would like to say it's awesome to be here. i would like to welcome everybody and say it's great to be here. major moore. not anymore. those army days are done, right? always great seeing you. always a friend of the community at fort lee every time we see you running around doing something with us. it's awesome. we appreciate it. before i get started i'd like to recognize all the work that the park service, especially chris
bryce has done to put this event together and not just this event but all of the events over the course of the ten months that cover the entire siege and the battle of petersberg as well as the post office and all the other people who help put this together. why don't we give them one round of applause for doing it. [ applause ] >> i would definitely like to thank you for asking me to speak here today. i have a great sense of gratitude for being allowed to participate in today's events. the significance of this event and the anive eniversary are not on me. although the one thing i do have to admit when i was asked to do this i found the task a little bit dountiaunting. i'm surrounded by subject matter experts on the civil war. people who are trying to cam nine hours into ten minutes and still include more information than i would ever be able to get in there more specifically experts on this battle. even though i am pretty
accustomed to not being the smartest guy in the room that adds a whole new perspective to the situation. now, i know i am a career soldier and i'm supposed to know that kind of stuff but in college i was an economic's major so we didn't realpoe"íx about the battle of the crater too much in micro or macro economics. although the one thing i do remember is i actually remember this battle being discussed when i was in one of my history classes at west point. it wasn't really the subject matter as it was my instructor who eventually went onto become the lieutenant and commanded the first nato training mission in afghanistan before retiring. he was a very animated and energetic speaker. he always made it interesting. he was first person who ever actually make history something that i wanted to go sit down and talk to because he didn't really teach history nearly as much as he told stories. isn't that what history really is? it's a story. it's our story. it's the story of what got us
here today. so we commemorate the battle crater which is just one story of our nation. now as i said earlier i'm not a great story teller so i will leave the details of the battle up to more qualify personnel than myself. and liewis oecpening and introduction of comments thanks for setting the bar so high. very powerful words. it was awesome so i'm not going to attempt to tell the story or amplify it or offer any insightful details on how it unfolded but what i would like to talk about is the people. the soldiers who played the parts of the story as it unfolded here and have played the part in every battle our nation has participated in and more importantly the soldiers we have serving now and the ones
signing up to serve everyday. i would like to talk about them and their ability to secure our nation's future and their sacrifice. a sacrifice that transcends far beyond the soldiers who fight the battle to their family, friends and homes. that's something that actually the commemoration here will recognize here and across the country. in all thousands paid the ultimate cost of that sacrifice on this spot and throughout this entire battlefield while writing this chapter and throughout our history hundreds of thousands have paid that same price. countless more have been wounded and captured. their blood is the ink that most of our history is written in. i'm sure their reasons for being here are just as varied as the soldiers joining today are. to make that sacrifice to stand up for what you believe in. during the battle they may have
fought to defend their country, their family, their beliefs or rights or strictly their sense of duty. soldiers in the north could have fought to maintain the union or preservation of the nation or way of life or the abolition of slavery. those in the south for their rights or homes and families. for many who fought here, the land we're on right now is literally their back yard. the color troops who fought here for their freedom. a great example of this being mr. dorsy of the one of the colored troops from the 39th infantly regiment who was born a slave but also won the congressional medal of honor for his actions right here on this ground. also those who were drafted. finally only 1 to 6% of the force who was here, depending on who you talk to, i will leave that up to the experts. their represent theirselves and
all made the sacrifice required to write this chapter. this sacrifice, sense of duty and this need to participate in or support or be apart of something much greater than themselves has played out time and time again throughout our history. so what about our future and the soldiers who will lead us there? as a leader in today's army we're required to look at the future. where are we going and hem determine how to best ensure the chapters of that future of are a secure america. in the 30 years i've enlisted i've seen phenomenal changes in our army and its soldiers. today we're once again an all volunteer army and the quality, competence, capability and sense of duty to their nation of these volunteers is what will secure our future. every army in the world attempts to emulate the capability of our enlisted personnel and ncos. the bottom line is they can't do it. that's just the fact of the
matter. some have been trying to do it for decades. we actively continually pursue efforts to actually teach other nations to adopt our model but no one else has been able to replicate it because of our soldiers. these souliers are the reasons we're so strong. as others chase us and try to emulate our capability, we will continue to improve and move forward and move farther away. one of the best conversations that highlighted this was when i was working at fort brag. there was a major who was talking to a bunch of veterans who had previously served in our unit. they were talking about how concerned they were with respect to the quality of the soldier and what had happened to the unit over the years. i got to tell you what, that sergeant major was opposed to what they were saying and might have threw a couple of
expletives that this unit could have easily whipped the old-timers. he told me this was not an insult to them but a testment ament to the fact we're always getting better that it is our duty to improve our units and people who defend the nation. he had no attempt to belittle their accomplishments. and closed by saying if we didn't prepare the next generation to be able to whip us than we would fail our country no matter what we accomplish on today's battlefield. this ethos to continual get better is an inherent part of our american culture and is the reason we have and will have the best military in the world. before i leave you thinking this is a chest thumping sales patch i would like to provide you details. in my lifetime we have gone from
a draft and people's only options were to go to the army or jail to one where only 29% of our population can even qualify to get into the army. think about that for one moment. over 70% of our population -- age eligible population don't even meet the basic requirements to get into today's army. 99% of today's recruits have a high school diploma in an era where only 79% graduate. overall today's recruits are healthier and more physically fit than the vast majority of their peers and they adhere to a zero tolerance policy on drugs and criminal issues. it is actually statistically easier to get into college than it is to enlist not become an officer but ep linlist in the a. the life of a soldier is no -- the life of a soldier is no
secret to them. they join knowing they will endure hard times. they will endure sacrifice. they will be charged to keep us safe. the few that make the cut to get in and are willing to make that sacrifice, they are not always easy to find. if it was easy to find them we wouldn't need an entire command for voting and recruiting. those who get in, to get in and make the next gut to get through training and into an unit, they become apart of something much greater than themselves. they have the combination of skills, the intelligence, the physical ability and sense of duty to be part of that 1% of our population that puts on a military uniform. the 1% that puts their lives on the line in defense of our nation is the 1% i want to be apart of. that's the 1% i'm proud to be apart of so the next time you see that brand new private or
lieutenant, no that they were among that our society had to offer. they had more ability and potential than most of their peers and they still chose to put that uniform on and to help the sacrifices that come with it. they are tomorrow's generals and command sergeant majors. they are the future of our nation. i thank you again for the honor of being here to stand in this hollow ground with all of you and to remember this chapter in our history and the people who lived in it and people who died in it. have a great day. god bless america. [ applause ] our benediction this morning will be given by reverend rick gre
greenwood. i fail to mention with pastor lions are gillfield. both churches represented here this morning were war time congregations here in petersberg. again, this morning our benediction reverend greenwood. >> may god the earth maker, god the universe creator, god the star thrower, god the tree grower, may go the builder of nations, god the lord of lords, god the king of kings, god the lover of man kind, may god who is our history. god who is our present, god who awaits us in the future. god be with us now. may got the pain bayer. god the one who suffers. god the bloodied sacrifice. god the redeemer.