"It is agreed that the thing was a perfect success, except that it did not succeed."
- Major Charles F. Adams, Jr., USA
The explosion cleared the Union path to Petersburg. But instead of pushing through, the first waves of Union attackers simply stood at the Crater, gawking at the incredible scene.
Union hesitation allowed the Confederates to regroup. Southern batteries fired from right and left; the Federals crowded into the Crater for protection. A thin line of Confederate survivors formed in the depression beyond the Crater. Though the Federals seized 150 yards of works on each side of the Crater, they advanced no farther. Dazed, confused, and leaderless, for hours they huddled in and around "the horrid pit." Meanwhile, Confederate reinforcements prepared to counterattack.