Building the Earthwork
Construction began in early 1863
Work on the Boonesboro earthwork progressed slowly, in part because of Confederate raids and in part because of bad weather, but by late spring or early summer the earthwork was complete.
In 1863, there were, of course, no power tools. All work was accomplished with hand tools and manpower. The earth was broken up with picks and moved with shovels. Trees were cut with saws and axes, and there were a lot of trees to clear. All of the trees that blocked the view of the river had to be removed, including those on the slopes below the earthwork. Some of the felled trees were shaped with an axe or adz to build the blockhouse and the stockade. Others were used for the abatis, still others became firewood.
Hand Tools and Manpower
In his proposal to Gen. Gillmore, Capt. Brooks listed the manpower and tools necessary to build the earthwork at Clay's Ferry. This earthwork was similar and no doubt the list, below, applied here as well.
Parts of the Earthwork
Each part of the earthwork was designed to fulfill a specific function. The letters below correspond to the drawing above and to the small signs on the earthwork itself.
A. Abatis - An entanglement made of large tree limbs. Arranged with the limbs facing the enemy, abatis was the equivalent
B. Stockading - A high fence made by placing logs vertically in the ground, the stockade was the second line of defense. Holes, called loopholes, allowed soldiers to shoot through the stockade.
C. Infantry Trench - A ditch about 5 feet deep inside of the stockade. The trench gave soldiers cover as they fired through the loopholes in the stockade.
D. Blockhouse - A small thick-walled building in the center of the earthwork. The blockhouse was a place of refuge during an assault. Shots could be fired through holes in the walls. On a day-to-day basis the blockhouse was used to store supplies and as officers' quarters.
E. Parapet - The mound of earth forming the main wall of the earthwork. The parapet was created using the earth removed to form the infantry trench.
Erected by Winchester/Clark County Tourism Commission.
Location. 37° 53.361′ N, 84° 15.514′ W. Marker is near Winchester, Kentucky, in Clark County. Marker can be reached from Ford Road (Kentucky Route 1924) 1.2 miles south of Boonesboro Road (Kentucky Route 627), on the left when traveling south. Click for map. The exhibit can be reached from the parking area on KY Route 1924. The trailhead is at
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Inside the Earthwork (a few steps from this marker); Thomas B. Brooks, Army Engineer (within shouting distance of this marker); A Defensive Strategy (within shouting distance of this marker); An Unrealized Plan (within shouting distance of this marker); Common Cliffside Plants (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Rock and Man (about 400 feet away); The Eye of the Rich Land (about 500 feet away); The Quest for Land (about 500 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Winchester.
More about this marker. CAUTION: The climb up the hill is VERY steep. It involves a change of elevation of 230 feet. Not recommended for people that are not in good physical shape or condition.
Also see . . . Civil War Fort at Boonesboro. (Submitted on June 19, 2014.)
Categories. • Forts, Castles • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Karl Stelly of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 300 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on , by Karl Stelly of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.