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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Spotsylvania in Spotsylvania County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Confederate Earthworks

 
 
Confederate Earthworks Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 10, 2007
1. Confederate Earthworks Marker
This is the forth in a series of markers along a walking trail on the Tapp Field. It can be reached from a parking lot off the Orange Plank Road.
Inscription. Longstreet’s troops began erecting these infantry entrenchments after fighting on the evening of May 6 and improved them the following day. This was a reserve line, the main Confederate position being a few hundred yards in font of you along modern Hill-Ewell Drive.

The small earthen mounds extending at right angles from the trenches are called traverses. They served two purposes: to protect against flanking artillery fire and to provide a new defensive front should enemy infantry pierce the line.

By 1864 the armies routinely constructed field fortifications displaying incredible effort and engineering skill. An elaborate defensive system could be built overnight. These earthworks incorporated logs as well as dirt and originally measured four to six feet in height. Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield contains outstanding examples of the soldiers’ entrenching prowess.
 
Location. 38° 17.527′ N, 77° 43.478′ W. Marker is near Spotsylvania, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker is on Orange Plank Road (County Route 621), on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Located at stop four of the Widow Tapp Farm hiking trail. Marker is in this post office area: Spotsylvania VA 22551, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking
Marker with earthworks image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 10, 2007
2. Marker with earthworks
distance of this marker. The Texans Attack (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Widow Tapp House (about 500 feet away); Texas (about 500 feet away); Lee to the rear! (about 600 feet away); Widow Tapp’s Field (approx. 0.2 miles away); Crisis in Tapp Field (approx. 0.2 miles away); In The Nick of Time (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lee-to-the-Rear (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Spotsylvania.
 
More about this marker. The bottom portion of the marker features a picture with the caption, This wartime sketch depicts Federal soldiers building earthworks during the Battle of the Wilderness.
 
Also see . . .  Battle of the Wilderness. (Submitted on March 9, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Earthworks made by Longstreet's troops image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 10, 2007
3. Earthworks made by Longstreet's troops
These trenches were made by Longstreet's men on May 6 and 7, 1864. They were to provide fall back protection in the event of a Union breakthrough of the main line.
Confederate Trenches - Longstreet's Line image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 10, 2007
4. Confederate Trenches - Longstreet's Line
Longstreet's Trenches image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, February 16, 2008
5. Longstreet's Trenches
The trace of the trenches is easy to see across the Tapp Fields even today. The traverses extend perpendicular to the main line. Several holes indicate larger and deeper works built for artillery positions.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,076 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   5. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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