1 26 A SCHOOL HISTORY OF THE
Petersburg was now surrounded by the Union
army. There was continual skirmishing: Burnside
commanded the Ninth Corps, composed partly of
Negro troops. By fierce fighting he made his way
up to within a hundred and fifty yards of the Con¬
federate batteries. Projecting out in front of them
was a strong fort. After consultation a trench was
dug out some hundred and fifty yards long, branch¬
ing off in two directions at the end under the fort.
It was packed with powder and explosives, the de¬
sign being to blow the place up. As arranged, on
the 30th of July, 1864, the match was applied.
Dampness prevented an explosion. Lieut. Jacob
Douty and Sergeant Henry Rus volunteered to go
into the trenches and ascertain and remove the
difficulty, and very soon after they came out, at 4.45
a.m., the match was again applied, and—read the
result, by Gen. Badeau : "The mine exploded with
a shock like that of an earthquake, tearing up the
Confederates' works above them, and vomiting men,
guns and caissons, two hundred feet into the air.
The tremendous mass appeared for a moment to