Field Fortifications

Field Fortifications (HM1F39)

Location: North, VA 23128 Mathews County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 27.994', W 76° 26.663'

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Defensive Earthworks

During the Civil War, many of the officers on both sides—even those who gained fame as infantry or cavalry commanders—were first trained as engineers at the United States Military Academy at West Point or the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. Using long-established principals, they were skilled at designing and overseeing the construction of complicated works that provided protection for those who manned them, as well as fields of fire to repel attacking forces. Lt. William H. Clarke, who supervised the construction here, utilized several fortification types in designing Fort Nonsense, including the redan, the redoubt, and the lunette.

The redan, derived from the French word for "projection and salient," consists of two faces joined to form a salient angle projecting toward the enemy and the path of an expected attack. The projecting V fortification at Fort Nonsense was designed for infantry use.

A redoubt, from the French word meaning "place of retreat," is usually an enclosed defensive emplacement outside a larger defensive system, or an independent position. Fort Nonsense was technically a redoubt.

Derived from the French word for "little moon," a lunette is an outer field work that forms a salient facing the enemy but is open on the side facing away from the enemy.

(lower left) Confederate fortifications, Big Bethel, Harper's Weekly, Apr. 26, 1862
(upper right) Redan, redoubt, and lunette, from The Official Military Atlas of the Civil War (1891-1895)
HM NumberHM1F39
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Year Placed2014
Placed ByVirginia Civil WarTrails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 at 5:39am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 372270 N 4147611
Decimal Degrees37.46656667, -76.44438333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 27.994', W 76° 26.663'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 27' 59.64" N, 76° 26' 39.78" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)804
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1140-1198 Windsor Rd, North VA 23128, US
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