previous next

[304] from a few isolated works, covering bridges or commanding a few especially important points, was developed a connected system of fortification by which every prominent point, at intervals of eight hundred to one thousand yards, was occupied by an inclosed field-fort, every important approach or depression of ground unseen from the forts swept by a battery for field-guns, and the whole connected by rifletrenches, which were in fact lines of infantry parapet, furnishing emplacement for two ranks of men and affording covered communication along the line, while roads were opened wherever necessary, so that troops and artillery could be moved rapidly from one point of the immense periphery to another, or under cover from point to point along the line.

The woods which prevailed along many parts of the line were cleared for a mile or two in front of the works, the counterscarps of which were surrounded by abattis. Bomb-proofs were provided in nearly all the forts; all guns not solely intended for distant fire placed in embrasure and well traversed; secure and well ventilated magazines, ample to contain one hundred rounds per gun, constructed; the original crude structures, built after designs given in text-books for “field fortification,” replaced by others on plans experience developed, or which the increased powers of modern artillery made necessary. All commanding points on which an enemy would be likely to concentrate artillery to overpower that of one or more of our forts or batteries were subjected not only to the fires, direct and cross, of many points along the line, but also from heavy rifled guns from distant points unattainable by the enemy's field-guns. With all these developments the lines certainly approximated to the maximum degree of strength which can be attained from unrevetted earth-works. They would probably realize in some degree the qualities attributed to fortified lines by Napoleon, though, being but unrevetted earth-works, they were scarcely what his dictum contemplated. When, in July, 1864, Early appeared before Washington all the artillery regiments which had constituted the garrisons of the works, and who were experienced in the use of the artillery, had been withdrawn and their places mainly filled by a few regiments of “one hundred days men” just mustered into service. The advantage, under these circumstances, of established lines of infantry parapet and prepared emplacements for fieldguns can be hardly overestimated. Bodies of hastily-organized men, such as teamsters, quartermasters' men, citizen volunteers, &c., sent out to the lines could hardly go amiss. “It may be observed here that as the object of revetments in fortifications is to render them ”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Napoleon (1)
J. A. Early (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
July, 1864 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: