Subscribe Today!

Union Disaster

The Battle of the Crater,

30 July 1864

By John Walker

The Plan

The men of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment—many of them coal miners, including their commander Lt. Col. Henry Pleasants—had fought their way from the Rappahannock River, and finally into trench lines along the eastern environs of Petersburg. That town was the key to the control of Richmond, its road and rail network the sole logistical link between that capital, 30 miles to the north, and the Confederate heartland.

The 48th’s lines were located in a ravine running north and south. Across the plain to their front was a long ridgeline along which had been dug seemingly endless Confederate trenches and earthworks. Crowning the Rebel works was a strongly fortified redan, Elliot’s Salient (a.k.a. Pegram’s Battery). Its four smoothbore “12-pounder Napoleon” cannon were arranged so as to be able to sweep the whole area and make sure any assault across that barren ground resulted in a bloody repulse.

The redoubt and its supporting trenches were critical to the overall Confederate defense, and they were accordingly manned by veteran infantrymen, part of a brigade commanded by Brig. Gen. Stephen Elliot. Frustrated with the lengthening stalemate,

Read the Full Article in ST333M

Operation Unthinkable:

Churchill’s Plan for World War III in 1945

Strategy & Tactics, Issue #333 Magazine available!

We’re excited to announce the latest issue of Strategy & Tactics is now available through our shop! Pick up your copy today!


· Operation Unthinkable: Churchill’s Plan for World War III in 1945: As World War II in Europe was ending, Winston Churchill had his staff draw up a plan for starting World War III against the Soviets. Here’s our analysis of that might-have-been war.

· Union Disaster: The Battle of the Crater, 30 July 1864: The only direct attack authorized by Gen. Ulysses Grant on the Confederate fortifications around Richmond occurred on 30 July 1864. It was a disaster for the Army of the Potomac.

· Italian Thermopylae: The First Battle of Monte Grappa: Late 1917 was not a good time for the Italians. A Central Powers offensive routed them along the Isonzo River, capturing tens of thousands of Italian soldiers and driving the rest back to the Piave River. There the Italians made a Thermopylae-like last stand that, unlike that namesake battle, actually succeeded.

· Subutai: Mongol Master of War: Subutai directed 20 major campaigns, conquered 35 polities of various sizes, and won 65 pitched battles. He routinely coordinated movements of armies operating hundreds of miles apart from each other, and he overran more territory than any other commander in history. His was a record of military accomplishment unsurpassed by any who lived before him or came after him.

Take me to Strategy & Tactics!

Strategy & Tactics Press

PO Box 21598, Bakersfield, CA 93390 | 661-587-9633

Strategy & Tactics Press | PO Box 21598 , Bakersfield, CA 93390