The key elements of field fortification

Field fortifications during the American Civil War consisted of temporary works constructed of earth and wood that were designed to increase the defensive capabilities of a body of troops holding a position. The two basic components of most field works consisted of the parapet and the ditch. The parapet was an earthen embankment raised high enough to provide cover from enemy fire, while the ditch supplied soil to construct the parapet and served as an obstacle to impede an assault on the field...

Introduction

The American Civil War saw a massive development in the use of field fortifications. Often considered the first modern war, scenes during many of the campaigns and battles of the conflict foreshadowed the shape of things to come in the trenches of the First World War of 1914-18. Early in the Civil War during actions such as Big Bethel, First Manassas (Bull Run), and the Seven Days' Battles, soldiers were required to dig simple defensive rifle trenches or pits in order to hold their ground....

American Civil War Fortifications 2

Ron Field Illustrated by Peter Dennis Series editors Marcus Cowper and Nikolai Bogdanovic First published in 2005 by Osprey Publishing, Midland House, West Way, Botley, Oxford OX2 OPH. UK 443 Park Avenue South. New York, NY 10016, USA E-mail nfo ospreypublishing.com All rights reserved. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, I988.no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored...

Crt Gilmer

P.KTIL THE VE & F THE Evacuation JF < mkkm jjtvuaftk, THE Lmr Qqkfei> EHATE BioHLiCEci1 Like* aB KUGKED mi < 5. to commemorating the Richmond battlefields, began to erect markers to commemorate the battlefields and earthworks around Richmond, Virginia. Most prominent among the members of this association were James Ambler Johnston and Dr. Douglas Southall Freeman, the eminent biographer of George Washington and Robert E. Lee. The work of Dr. Freeman and the Association ultimately led...

Containing Instructions On Themethod

Of Laying Out, Constructing, Defending, and Attacking Entrenchments with the general outlines, also, of the Arrangement, the Attack, aiw Defence of Permanent Fortification 8, Professor of Military .and Civil Engineering in the U S. Military Academy. Fourth edition, rerised and enlarged, containing ALL THE PLATES. Both North and South used Mahan's military manuals extensively in the Civil War.This advertisement appeared in the Charleston Daily Courier on January 23, 1862 and announced the...

American Civil War Fortifications

Field Fortifications Plans

A history teacher for over 30 years, Ron is presently Head of History at the Cotswold School in Bourton-on-the-Water, UK. He was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship in 1982 and taught at Piedmont High School in California during 1982-83. He has traveled extensively in the US, conducting research at numerous libraries, archives and museums, and has written several books on 19th-century American history. He was elected a Fellow of the Company of Military Historians,...

He fate of the fortifications

Richmond Battlefield National Park

The American people temporarily forgot about the field fortifications and earthworks outside cities such as Petersburg, Richmond, and Washington, as they healed their wounds during the several decades following the Civil War. Farmers dismantled earthworks, plowed and planted the battlefields, and rebuilt their farmhouses and barns on numerous sites of intense combat and human loss. However, the National Park Service was established, if in name only, in 1872, and by 1890 the...

The fortifications of Petersburg 186465

Infantry Earthworks

In June 1864, the outer line of Confederate fortifications built around Petersburg stretched for ten miles, and began and ended on the Appomattox River, protecting all but the northern approaches to the city. The 55 partially enclosed artillery batteries were consecutively numbered from east to west, and were linked together with rifle trenches. The building of these works was ordered on August 4, 1862, and was initially undertaken by 4,000 troops from three Confederate brigades, who were...

Plan

Fortifications

A redan was a simple field work consisting of two faces joined to form a salient, or outward projecting angle, in a line of defense works. Redans were used in conjunction with larger works as advanced posts to protect ground that could not otherwise be seen. In many cases, two or more redans were joined together to form double or triple redans, as in the Confederate lines at Fort Blakeley in Alabama. Fifty-five redans had been built into the Petersburg defenses by 1864. This type of field work...

Acw Lunette Fortification

A star fort, or tenaille fort, was surrounded on the exterior with projecting angles or salients, and was categorized by the number of salients included in its traces, e.g. a fort with six salient angles was referred to as a hexagonal fort. Although they were used quite extensively in earlier wars, star forts fell from favor following disappointing service in the Napoleonic Wars. Most 19th-century engineering manuals had more to say about their disadvantages than their advantages. Flank defense...

The western campaign 186264

Civil War Union Rifle Pit Design

Sketch map of the fortifications, rifle pits, plus Union and Confederate picket lines, outside Chattanooga, Tennessee, drawn by G.H. Blakeslee, US Topographical Engineers, in 1863. Library of Congress Field fortifications also played an important role in Tennessee. Once Nashville fell after the capture of forts Henry and Donelson in February 1862, the Federal army wasted no time in fortifying that city. Included in these works were forts Morton, Casino, Gillem, and Negley later renamed Fort...

The war in the East 186164

Major John Gross Barnard was appointed Chief Engineer of Washington, DC in 1861, and was responsible for planning the fortifications that surrounded the capital. Promoted to brigadier general, he directed the siege works atYorktown in 1862, and by 1864 was Chief Engineer of the armies in the field under Grant. National Archives 530217 Defenses of Washington, May-July 1861 The Federal capital was considered vulnerable at the outset of the Civil War, and a number of forts, blockhouses, and...

15

Richardson Virginia Brady

The Washington defenses were built between 1861 and 1865 and consisted of 68 forts, over 90 batteries and 20 miles of rifle trenches.These were garrisoned at any one time by approximately 23,000 troops who manned about 450 artillery pieces consisting of 24- and 32-pounder cannon on seacoast carriages 24-pounder siege guns rifled Parrott guns and guns on field carriages of lighter caliber. The official plan of the Confederate fortifications atYorktown for the period April 5 to May 3, 1862,...

Info

The original Confederate fortifications built around Petersburg between 1862 and 1864 were known as theDimmocl lt Line, after engineer Charles H. Dimmock, and stretched for ten miles around the southern approaches to the city.The 55 artillery batteries were consecutively numbered from east to west, and were linked together with rifle trenches. Following the Federal assaults of June 18-20, 1864 the Confederates withdrew to inner lines and Grant ordered siege lines to be established around the...

War in the East 186465

The Confederate attack on Washington, July I 1-12, 1864 The only Confederate assault on the Washington defenses occurred in the summer of 1864. Learning from spies that the capital was poorly defended due to Grant's insistence that troops be moved south to reinforce his army besieging Petersburg, Lee sent General Jubal A. Early to attack Washington from the north. During the morning of July 11, 1864, lookouts in the signal tower at Fort Reno spied clouds of dust in the distance, and then saw...

Visiting the sites today

The following selection is not exhaustive, but includes the main historical sites containing Civil War field fortifications of the eastern and western campaigns owned by the National Park Service, government agencies, the local community, plus those in private hands. At the time of writing, all of these sites are open to the public unless otherwise noted. Richmond National Battlefield Park contains the earthwork remains of Fort I larrison Burnham, plus those at forts Brady, Hoke, Johnson,...

The Richmond defenses 186165

Richmond Fortifications

Following his acceptance as Major General of Virginia Forces on April 23, 1861, Robert E. Eee appointed Colonel Andrew Talcott, Engineer of Virginia Forces, to the job of setting up a system of defensive fortifications around the Confederate capital. On May 9, a Committee on Defense was selected amongst the City Council to assist in providing a work force and materials. Councillor Richard Reins had been appointed as Superintendent of City Defenses by the beginning of July. Problems arose in...

On

The Confederate attack on Fort Stevens,Washington, DC on July I I, 1864 Still determined to push on towards Richmond, Grant once again moved the Army of the Potomac in an attempt to outflank Lee's forces. Following several days of inconclusive maneuvering for control of the vital crossroads of Cold Harbor, Grant decided, on June 3, 1864, to launch an all-out assault on Lee's entrenchments, which consisted of the 2nd, 6th, and 18th Corps, totalling 50,000 men, along the Bethesda Church-Cold...