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Tag: battle of the Crate

Facial Hair Friday: Battle of the Crater


Oddly enough, Facial Hair Fridays is teaching this former medieval art historian a fair amount about the Civil War. (Teachers, take note!) Many of  the images in ARC are portraits of Civil War soldiers, and I’ve had to go and look up these generals to put them into a context beyond their finely groomed faces.

I wanted to feature Burnside after finding this picture of him. His mustache and sideburns create an amazing lasso of hair around his face.  A quick poke around the Internet suggests that he may have been the inspiration for the phrase “sideburns” but I soon became curious about one of the disastrous battles that he was involved in: the Battle of the Crater.

At the Battle of Crater, Union soldiers decided to dig a tunnel under the Confederates at Elliott’s Salient in Virginia and blow them up.

The idea seems a little less crazy when you consider that among Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside’s IX Corps was the 8th Regiment, the Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry, many of whom were coal miners.

The actual digging of the tunnel and the explosion were successful.The 586-foot-long tunnel was started on June 25 and was completed on July 23.

But the original plan, which was to send in a large number of African American troops, was scrapped the night before. According to, … [ Read all ]