When General Mahone started to retake the crater, he asked Major John Cheves Haskel to see if he could get some mortars close to the site. Lt. Alexander McQueen took 2 mortars and about 10 men from the battery and made his way forward. An eyewitness, J. W. Andrews of the 23rd South Carolin Regiment, wrote:
Sumter [S.C.] had an artillery company in the Crater fight (Hugh Garden, captain). Captain Garden being absent, the commander was Lieutenant Alexander McQueen. Under his directions the battery did most effective service with mortars. The mortars were trained on the Crater, into which the enemy had been forced. The first and second shells thrown, bursted over the Crater, but each succeeding shell fell into the Crater, resulting in the upheavel into mid-air many blue fragments as the shells exploded.
Glen Dedmont contintues the story:
Starting at about one hundred yards range, the Lieutenant and his Palmetto cannoneers trained the rounds into the pit. They began advancing the guns, with each movement decreasing the propellant charge to accommodate the decreased range. Over the next two hours, they advanced the pieces to within twenty yards of the pit. "The enemy were again so close that we could hear them calling," Haskell said, "so we began throwing shells with squibs for charges, and every few minutes numbers would dash into our lines crying for quarter."
The mortar barrage stopped the Federals cold, and then at about one in the afternoon, Gen. John Sander's Brigade, men from the 21st N.C. (Hoke's Division), and Elliott's 17th S.C. moved in to engage the trapped bluecoats. The hapless Federals had no choice but to fight hand-to-hand or surrender as the fresh Confederates poured over the rim of the pit. By 2:00 p.m., the Battle of the Crater was over. The mortars and infantry had taken a fearful toll. It was reported that in some places the dead were piled eight deep.