View single post by Johan Steele
 Posted: Sat Jan 12th, 2008 03:18 pm
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Johan Steele
Life NRA,SUVCW # 48,Legion 352

Joined: Sat Dec 2nd, 2006
Location: South Of The North 40, Minnesota USA
Posts: 1065

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Fieldworks... it depends upon the timeframe and locale. For the most part the extensive CS works around Vicksburg, Atlanta and Petersburg were dug by slave labor under the supervision of an army engineer. The US works around Nashville & Washington were dug by contraband labor again under the supervision of an officer of the engineers.

Now the tactical fieldworks were anything but sophisticated sometimes no more than a shallow hole scraped out w/ a bayonet or plate w/ a couple three fence rails or hastily felled trees in front.

Somewhere around here I have a list of the tools carried by each company.

Each Army was a little different about their pioneers, so many men volunteered from each regiment from a Brigade and put in the vanguard of the march. Rosecrans and the AoC had a regular brigade strength Pioneer Corps.

I recall reading an account of men digging rifle pits where they weren't under enemy fire. The man's description sounded a lot like digging a grave w/ the finished product about that size.

Troini has done a study of an AoC pioneer w/ his distinctive crossed axes insignia. And I have CDV that illustrates a pioneer beautifully... taking a break after some work.

Pioneers, in both armies, were exempt from any additional duties such as water detail, diging sinks guard duty etc. So it was a worthwhile volunteer job. The Pioneer Brigade of the AoC was made up of men who had prior experiance that would be useful. Everything from lumberjacks to professional carpenters. Sherman disbanded the Pioneer Brigade and put the men back in their Regiments to be used in the more traditional manner. IIRC Company sized detachments per brigade able to be more responsive and more closely respond to the needs of their Brigade commanders. Both were very effective as used.

Many have been suprised by how simple and effective many fieldworks were; little more than a hole scooped out of the ground w/ a bit of fence and a pile of dirt in front. The kind of thing the average GI of WW2 would recognize.

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