From a letter August 3, 1864 10:00 PM by Frank Draper mailed from Petersburg to home:
...It is my duty while here at the front to keep watch one third of the night every night and to be on the alert for any unusual movements in the lines. As I write, there is an incessant cracking, along the lines in front, the firing is unusually sharp tonight, and the inter change of shots is very rapid. Semi-occasionally a bullet comes whizzing over here by mistake and strikes with a sharp smack against some tree or goes on until it falls spent upon the ground....
That battle! Long before you receive this, you will have read the full particulars...You will need no further proof of my perfect safety than this letter. I am indeed whole in every limb, but how I escaped is and always (will) be to me a miracle...
...we were obliged to retire with heavy, very heavy loss. It was a sad dark day for the 9th Army corps. We went in the morning with ... hopes of victory, and came back utterly defeated to occupy the same lines we had left...It was enough to take the stiffness out of anyone to see the chance of success lost by mismanagement and especially to look upon the battle field strewn with bodies of brave men. There was a blunder somewhere. The Colored Division is made to shoulder the lionÕs share of the blame of the disaster;...the public have not yet outgrown the prejudice which attaches to these soldiers and it is a matter of course that much should be thrown upon them which justly belong elsewhere...I do desire to warn you against taking too much stock in statements which correspondents make who were two miles away from the front, and who take the facts from men who are as prejudiced as themselves. To deny that the colored division broke and ran is not my purpose at all. They did run, and so did I, and so did hundreds of others, but not until circumstances had become so desperate as to make many a veteran wish himself out of it.
...troops white and black gave way and sought shelter in the crater where was concentrated a terrific fire from the enemies batteries and entrenchment...too much praise cannot be awarded the bravery of both officers and men. The former fearlessly led, while the latter as fearlessly followed, through a fire hot enough to make the oldest troops falter...all did their duty.
...Day before yesterday we had a truce to bury the dead. I went on the field along with the flag of truce. Rebels and Yankees freely intermingle and talked socially about the battle.
It is quarter of twelve. I think IÕll let the next one take his turn. I shall go to sleep amidst all this racket as quickly as if I were in Wayland; in deed I think more so. I have become so used to the noise. So with kindest regard to all my friends.
The Wayland boys are all right.Ó