Building the Earthwork

Building the Earthwork (HM1EXU)

Location: Winchester, KY 40391 Clark County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 53.361', W 84° 15.514'

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Construction began in early 1863
Work on the Boonesboro earthwork progressed slowly, in part because of Confederate raids and in part because of bad weather, but by late spring or early summer the earthwork was complete.

In 1863, there were, of course, no power tools. All work was accomplished with hand tools and manpower. The earth was broken up with picks and moved with shovels. Trees were cut with saws and axes, and there were a lot of trees to clear. All of the trees that blocked the view of the river had to be removed, including those on the slopes below the earthwork. Some of the felled trees were shaped with an axe or adz to build the blockhouse and the stockade. Others were used for the abatis, still others became firewood.

Hand Tools and Manpower
In his proposal to Gen. Gillmore, Capt. Brooks listed the manpower and tools necessary to build the earthwork at Clay's Ferry. This earthwork was similar and no doubt the list, below, applied here as well.

Parts of the Earthwork
Each part of the earthwork was designed to fulfill a specific function. The letters below correspond to the drawing above and to the small signs on the earthwork itself.

A. Abatis - An entanglement made of large tree limbs. Arranged with the limbs facing the enemy, abatis was the equivalent of barbed wire. Its purpose was to slow an assault on the earthwork.

B. Stockading - A high fence made by placing logs vertically in the ground, the stockade was the second line of defense. Holes, called loopholes, allowed soldiers to shoot through the stockade.

C. Infantry Trench - A ditch about 5 feet deep inside of the stockade. The trench gave soldiers cover as they fired through the loopholes in the stockade.

D. Blockhouse - A small thick-walled building in the center of the earthwork. The blockhouse was a place of refuge during an assault. Shots could be fired through holes in the walls. On a day-to-day basis the blockhouse was used to store supplies and as officers' quarters.

E. Parapet - The mound of earth forming the main wall of the earthwork. The parapet was created using the earth removed to form the infantry trench.

Placed ByWinchester/Clark County Tourism Commission
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, September 11th, 2014 at 10:43pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 741074 N 4197081
Decimal Degrees37.88935000, -84.25856667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 53.361', W 84° 15.514'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 53' 21.66" N, 84° 15' 30.84" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)859
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 790-1588 State Hwy 1924, Winchester KY 40391, US
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