View single post by Johan Steele
 Posted: Mon Jan 14th, 2008 10:24 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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Just as a note, the simple rifle pit was likely the most common entrenchment seen or utilized by both sides. It was quick to build and provided a lot of protection particularly for skirmishers and every battle and camp had skirmishers out... especially after the US was caught napping at Shiloh. Two soldiers (typical skirmisher rifle pit) could put together a very effective fighting position very quickly and if necessity demanded those pits could be connected.

Entrenchments as we know of in the CW were by no means a new invention. The Romans had utilized extensive and sophisticated marching camps prior to the time of Caesar and they were well known throughout history since. The Yorktown fortifications built by the British were every bit as formidable as those built by the CS there most of a century later. The CS was certainly not lacking in competant engineers to design field works as any student of West Point was for all practical purposes an expert on the subject.

The works outside Atlanta, Vicksburg, Petersburg & Mobile to name just a few were massive undertakings w/ superb design behind them. The works at Ft Donelson & Henry as well as all of those entrenchements Shermans boys had to deal w/ on the way to Atlanta are proof of several things. 1. Southerners could dig a hole as well as any man on earth. 2. Entrenchments tie an army down and limit it's ability to manuever almost as much as it hampers an enemy army. After all what good are a set of entrenchments designed for 1000 men when only 100 are manning them... almost more of a hinderance. Relying upon entrenchments for defence gives the initiative to the enemy. In short the enemy who can and will manuever will invariably win. Trapping an enemy in his works is a good thing, that leads to seiges and seiges to surrenders.

In more than a decade of studying the words of the men of the day never have I seen mention to ineffective or crude CS works; in fact the reverse is true. I can think of only two instances where the CS created poorly designed or executed fieldworks: Ft Pillow & the siteing of arty at Chattanooga. Ft Pillow was designed to withstand attack from the river not the landward side and the US did not rectify such an oversite. Chatanooga... Bragg screwed the pooch there and for some unknown reason arty was sited to strike the town & Union works not deal w/ an attack from below. In his defence anyone who has ever walked the terrain can understand why. His folly was expecting the AoC to stay penned up in the city.

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