Two Reunions of the 142nd Regiment, Pa. Vols.
Detail of image from OR atlas showing Rives Salient. Original can be viewed at: baylor.edu
The 142 was no stranger to battle, but they had never had an officer quite like Chamberlain before.
To their surprise Chamberlain described the objective to the regimental commanders and ordered them to inform the men
so they would have time to look at the situation and prepare. On page 35 Warren states, "This was novel to us, for we had
been fighting from the Wilderness to this place, with little or no knowledge as to the exact object to be attained,
and this new order of things rather captivated the officers and men, and, though they could see before them a desperate undertaking,
when the order came at three o'clock our line responded to a man and went forward with enthusiasm hardly
ever witnessed in battle."
This history reveals that Chamberlain was skeptical about support arriving when he charged the works at Petersburg June 18, 1864. Ordering the men to look left and right to see if they had support before attempting to take the works.
It is also of some interest that when writing their history of Gettysburg they gave Chamberlain a brief notice see page 106.
According to this account the 149th and 142nd remained out on the field all night from the time of their 3 pm charge.
After venturing back across the ravine Warren would discover the new regiment the 187th and offer advice.
The 187th would move up to the ravine again at 7pm according to their history.1
On page 37 Warren recalls the location of their charge being the future site of the crater. Chamberlain's charge was actually
south of that point as can be determined by looking at the landmarks. Warren describes the enemies works as 40 to 60 feet from the stream,
that close of a distance only occurred infront of Rives Salient. The works the Crater was later blown in lay over 500 feet back from the stream.
The other problem with this account is the other people who claim to be at the site of the Crater at the same time.
The forty-eighth Pennsylvania of the Second Division of the 9th Corps recalls charging "Elliott's Salient" on June 18th and that "the 48th continued to hold this position until after
the successful explosion of their mine on July 30th."2
Crawford's division also remembers being by the Crater stating, "We assaulted the enemy's lines and fought our battle exactly on the ground where the mine was afterwards exploded,
that is, where Elliot's salient of the Confederate line was established. Our left reached the Baxter road, and our right was well over and beyond
the site of this salient."3
With Crawford's left on the road this leaves very little room for Griffin's Division.
To explore more closely sources describing Chamberlain's position see: Maps of Virginia
To read the "History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers" very brief description of Petersburg follow the below link:
142nd in "History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers"