Why Should We Remember the Battle of the Crater?
Over the past few weeks I’ve been putting together some thoughts for my talk next Friday in Petersburg to mark the 150th anniversary of the battle of the Crater. I’ve been re-reading sections of my book and thinking about how this particular battle fits into the major themes and direction of our ongoing sesquicentennial.
The initial explosion and its impact on the battlefield landscape certainly stands out as distinct feature of this relatively brief engagement, but the fight at the Crater was certainly not the bloodiest nor did it involve a particularly large number of soldiers on both sides. This was not the first time that a large number of USCTs was employed in battle nor was it the first time that a significant number were massacred by Confederates.
How would you approach the task of commemorating this particular battle? What are its salient features? Another way to approach the question might be to ask what would have been missed if we chose to overlook this particular battle entirely?
Update: Whatever I end up sharing with my audience next Friday will be recorded by C-SPAN and aired shortly thereafter.