Field Armies and Fortifications in the Civil War
The Eastern Campaigns, 1861-1864
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
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Title Page, About the Series, Copyright, Dedication
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...dirt, mud, baking sun, and bitter cold, than to die in the open. Fortificationsof some kind played a role in all campaigns of this immense conflict. CivilWar soldiers became experts in the building of field fortifications, and earth-works came to play a vital role in determining the outcome of the conflict.The Civil War ended in the ditches around Petersburg, where Lee’s Army of...
1 Engineering War
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...the corps was institutionalized in its current form in 1802. A separate groupof topographical engineers, responsible for mapmaking, was created in theWar of 1812 and given its own institutional status in 1838 as the Corps ofTopographical Engineers. The U.S. Engineer Department was created imme-diately after the War of 1812 to serve the administrative needs of the corps. It...
2 On to Richmond
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...tles, yet field armies dug in deeper and more widely after each engagement.The capital cities of the opposing sides were ringed with the beginnings ofmassive earthworks designed to protect the political and administrative cen-ters of the Union and Confederate war efforts. Even along the Atlantic sea-coast, fortifications came to play a role in combined operations designed to...
3 Western Virginia and Eastern North Carolina
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...the Federals achieved limited but important victories in these two regions.The first sustained, deep penetration of Confederate territory began innorthwestern Virginia in June 1861. Situated across the Ohio River from freeterritory, this area was a vulnerable shoulder of the Confederacy. Uniontroops entered it initially to protect the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and...
4 The Peninsula
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...comparable response from the Confederates. The campaign saw the exten-sive use of fortifications by both sides for offensive as well as defensivepurposes, but they never became the key factor in determining the outcomeof the campaign. While the Confederates built complex works along theWarwick River during the Yorktown phase of the campaign, all the other...
5 From Seven Pines to the Seven Days
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...banks of the James River. Only the Warwick Line proved its mettle in a directconfrontation with McClellan’s army. The engineering skill, time, and laborThe lower James was defended by numerous works. The Confederatesfortified six major positions: Fort Boykin at Day’s Point, Fort Huger at Har-den’s Bluff, Mulberry Island (the western anchor of the Warwick Line),...
6 Second Manassas, Antietam, and the Maryland Campaign
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...thrust. He intended to take the war northward, to enlarge the area of opera-tions, and to confront another Union force, the newly created Army of Vir-ginia under Maj. Gen. John Pope, which was hovering north of the Rap-pahannock River. This move would shift the focus of the war away fromLee had to arrange for the city’s defense while he was away. He ordered in-...
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...cross the Rappahannock River, and head for Richmond, another fifty-fivemiles away. Burnside arranged for supplies and pontoons to be shifted toFredericksburg in preparation for his move. Maj. Gen. Edwin V. Sumner’sRight Grand Division reached Fredericksburg on November 19, the same daythat the leading elements of Lee’s army arrived, but the logistical support...
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...ing movement into the infamous Mud March. Burnside was replaced byMaj. Gen. Joseph Hooker on January 26, 1863, and the Army of the Potomacwas rejuvenated by improved living conditions, more frequent furloughs, theintroduction of corps badges, and Hooker’s infectious optimism. When thespring brought good campaigning weather to Virginia, the Federals were...
9 Goldsborough, New Bern, Washington, and Suffolk
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Federal garrisons that occupied several towns on the Coastal Plain. TheYankees had established their presence in this region in early 1862 with theBurnside expedition, but they had failed to use it effectively as a springboardto attack vital lines of communication. More important operations in Vir-ginia, most notably McClellan’s drive on Richmond and Lee’s subsequent...
10 Gettysburg and Lee’s Pennsylvania Campaign
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...to take the scene of operations away from the Rappahannock River, where ithad been planted for six months. Gathering food was another consideration,and generally causing havoc on free soil was yet another. The Pennsylvaniacampaign shook up the North. It was the Confederacy’s biggest incursionLee planned to enter Northern soil by way of the lower Shenandoah...
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Civil War, but Charleston was an important port for blockade runners. Theoperations against the city in the summer of 1863 involved extensive for-tifications for both offensive and defensive purposes. In fact, Charleston wasone of the most heavily fortified cities in America. Confederate authoritieshad sought to protect the place as soon as the Yankees had evacuated Fort...
12 The Reduction of Battery Wagner
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...might not have to be run all the way to Wagner, for if Sumter’s guns could bedismounted, the navy might be able to run in and cut off boat communica-tion between Charleston and Morris Island. This would accomplish a com-plete investment of Wagner and starve the garrison into surrender.∞The result was one of the classic siege operations of the Civil War. The re-...
13 From Bristoe Station to the Fall of Plymouth
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River and the Rapidan River. Meade took position near Warrenton north ofthe Rappahannock. Both armies used the Orange and Alexandria Railroadas their line of communications, but Meade realized that this area was notthe true line of advance toward Richmond. The railroad led southwestwardfrom Alexandria, away from the Confederate capital. This bucolic region be-...
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...manders on many levels relied on breastworks, earthworks, or preexistingfeatures on the battlefield during almost every significant engagement from1861 through 1864. There was a definite trend toward greater reliance onThe evolution of trench warfare was centered, in part, on the problem ofbalancing the desire for offensive action with the need for assuming the de-...
Appendix 1: The Design and Construction of Field Fortifications at Yorktown
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The works at Yorktown were the most significant field fortifications of the eastern campaigns before the battle of Chancellorsville. Complex and strong, they call into question the previously held idea that reliance on fieldworks started in 1864. Large portions of them are well preserved, although the Confederate remnants are more...
Appendix 2: Preserving the Field Fortifications at Gettysburg
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The fieldworks at Gettysburg are probably the most famous of any campaign in the East from 1861 through early 1864. The Twelfth Corps fortifications on Culp’s Hill garner the lion’s share of the attention. This is a curious circumstance, considering that Chancellorsville saw much greater use of fieldworks and all the fortifications at...
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Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Civil War America