“Altogether Too Absurd For Serious Consideration”: The Federal Mine at Petersburg

From the Richmond Daily Dispatch, July 21, 1864:

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper - August 20, 1864
Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper – August 20, 1864

Everything at the front was remarkably quiet. There was not even the usual amount of shelling, mortar or picket firing. All along the lines, from our extreme right to the river, for hours at a time there could only be heard an occasional explosion, and the quiet was so unusual as to cause general comment in Petersburg. The few shells that have been thrown at the city for two or three days past have produced no damage to property, and inflicted no injury upon persons.

Some erratic individual accounts for the apparent inactivity of the enemy by saying that he is industriously pushing forward a grand plot for undermining the Cockade City, which is to be blown up as “by a tremendous blast from the infernal regions”–a scheme, it will be admitted, to which the famous gunpowder plot of Guy Fawkes bears no sort of comparison.

Harper's Weekly - August 20, 1864
Harper’s Weekly – August 20, 1864

The Express briefly alludes to these reports, and says they occasion no sort of uneasiness. Grant’s position is not a favorable one for successful operations of this kind, and the effort would be but a waste of time and labor. He cannot go many feet below the surface of the ground before he strikes a stratum of mall, and there he finds water to impede his progress. We consider the idea altogether too absurd for serious consideration.

Crater - Within the Mine

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