Detailed description of the Battle of the Crater
Aug. 1, 1864
The following was written 154 years, 7 months, 19 days ago.
It was a Monday.
U. S. Christian Commission
Camp of the 16th Me. Vols.
Before Petersburg Va.
Aug 1st 1864
I received your letter of July 22nd and 23rd last night and was very glad to hear from you and that you liked so well. I wrote to you July 24th but you had not had time to get it when you wrote. I am getting better pretty fast now. I do not have much to do.
Evry thing has been very quiet here for about a month till the day before yesterday when our folks blowed up two forts for the Rebels. Our folks dug for one fourth of a mile under ground and put in a large amount of powder and when they got all ready torched her off and opened at the same time the whole length of the line of battle. Burnsides’ Negroes charged in at the same time and took seven hundred prisoners and several pieces of artillery. The fight lasted from four o’ clock in the morning till noon when it eased. A great many of the wounded lay there yet. They are between the two lines and they will not accept of a flag of truce so they have to lay there and die in the hot sun. We were not in it the heaviest & of it was a little to the right of us. We have been very lucky lately about being in any fights.
I wish you had my watch. It would be so nice for you. But I would not dare to send it home by express for fear of losing it. I should think you could borrow one of someone. I think you might have borrowed one of John Chadbourn before you went up there. He always has three or four. I think if you could get the Writer School at Moose River it would be a pretty good thing for you as they pay pretty good pay, but perhaps some of them are pretty well advanced as it is a pretty large school. I would not buy a watch if I was you. If you get a writer school, I may have a chance to send mine to you. I could have sent it about ten days ago if I had known that you wanted it; by a Capt that went. Well Nettie, I have only one year and thirteen days from today to serve. It is over two years since I enlisted so I think I shall get out all right. Anyway, I hope I will. We are going to have a chance to reinlist soon but I do not think I will improve, although I could get a big pile of money. But what is money compared with a man’s life. I will close. Now write soon and I will too. Give my respects to all my friends. I don’t know as you can read this. It is so warm I cannot write. From your brother,
John H. Frain