A campaign with sharpshooters.
Long before the close of the campaign of 1863, in the late war between the States, the Army of Northern Virginia, as well as its historic antagonist, the Army of the Potomac, had completely inaugurated the system of fighting from behind earthworks.
So universal had become this method of defense that intrenching tools formed part of the soldier's regular equipment as much as he did his arms of offense, and the spade and mattock were ranked almost equal in importance with the sabre and rifle.
The use of trenches by the Confederate army was dictated by a consideration higher than the mere effort of the individual to protect his own life.
It was, on public grounds, a matter of dire necessity; its numbers, reduced by disease and death in hospital and field, were far from being recuperated by the conscription, sweeping as it was, of 1864.
It was apparent to all that every life must be husbanded, and that every advantage of position must be taken, both as to nature and the addition of art, to render the weaker side able to cope with its adversaries.
Thus it came to pass that whenever a line was formed or a position occupied where there was any likelihood of attack, trenches were dug at once and earthworks thrown up, which were elaborated and extended as the approach of the enemy increased the chances of an action.
These preparations extended even to the picket-line.
The remains of this vast system of defense are to be seen at this day, and will long be regarded as notable monuments of that long and desperate strife, whose other sequels, we hope and believe, are now being gradually effaced by the pitying touch of time and the