Field Fortifications

Field Fortifications (HMA0V)

Location: Petersburg, VA 23803
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 10.871', W 77° 28.61'

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The Military Encampment

— Pamplin Historical Park —

Pamplin Historical Park has created these replica earthworks to suggest how this area might have looked during the winter of 1864-65. Both armies at Petersburg constructed long lines of field fortifications. Engineer officers used standard manuals in designing and constructing the earthworks.

Civil War earthworks basically consisted of a parapet and a ditch. The parapet was a dirt embankment raised high enough to provide the soldiers protection from enemy cannon and rifle fire. Most of the dirt for the parapet came from the ditch, which also served as an obstacle to an attack. A row of logs or boards formed the "revetment," which held the dirt of the parapet in place as it was thrown up from the ditch. A firing step, or "banquette," stood at the base of the revetment. Soldiers would step up onto the banquette and fire their weapons over the top of the parapet, which was known as the "superior slope."

Artillery positions were located at intervals along the lines. These positions usually projected out from the main line so that the cannon in them could fire along the front of the fortifications and to either side. This "enfilade" fire increased the defensive strength of the earthworks. Depending upon their shape, they were referred to as redans, redoubts, or lunettes.

Openings known as "embrasures" were cut into the parapets to allow the cannon to fire without unnecessarily exposing their crews to enemy fire. Embrasures could be lined with a number of items to give them strength, but the Confederates generally used sandbags. Because cannon placed in field works had to fire repeatedly from the same spot, engineers constructed wooden platforms to support the weight of the guns and to prevent them from sinking into soft soil and cutting ruts as they recoiled.
HM NumberHMA0V
Placed ByPamplin Historical Park
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, September 5th, 2014 at 2:20pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 280126 N 4117845
Decimal Degrees37.18118333, -77.47683333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 10.871', W 77° 28.61'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 10' 52.26" N, 77° 28' 36.60" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)804, 434, 757
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 6593-6605 Duncan Rd, Petersburg VA 23803, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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