“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Bowling Green in Warren County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)

Fort Webb and Civil War Earthworks

Fort Webb and Civil War Earthworks Marker image. Click for full size.
By Chad Comer, January 1, 2011
1. Fort Webb and Civil War Earthworks Marker
Inscription.  In 1860, Bowling Green was a thriving city of about 2500 inhabitants with many local businesses, a woolen factory, a candle factory, several mills, an iron foundry, and a newspaper. This city was vital to the war effort of both sides because of its transportation network, including the L&N (Lousiville-Nashville) Railroad, road network and the Big Barren River and the hills that surrounded the city.

Beginning in mid-September 1861, a Confederate force of about 4500 men under the command of General Simon Bolivar Buckner entered the city and constructed eight forts on all the available hilltops. Fortified positions were also placed at key river fords and ferry crossings. Fort Webb defended parts of Big Barren River, a ferry crossing, and a boat landing and had mounted three cannons.

Earthwork Fortifications
Unlike some of the more elaborate fortifications, made of limestone blocks like Fort Lytle and Fort C.F. Smith in Bowling Green, Fort Webb was a simpler earthworks fort (or redoubt). This kind of fort could be "thrown up" (a military engineering term) by large numbers of men with picks and shovels. Soldiers
Fort Webb and Civil War Earthworks image. Click for full size.
By Chad Comer, January 1, 2011
2. Fort Webb and Civil War Earthworks
would dig a ditch and throw the dirt onto the parapet. With such earthworks before them, an attacking enemy must, charge towards the fort, descend or fall into the ditch, and then climb the high, steep scarp wall of the parapet in order to storm the fort... if possible.

Constructing a Lunette
The main structure visible at Fort Webb is an earthworks "lunette." Historically, this was a standard shape used by military engineers, and resembled a crescent moon or lunar shape, thus the name. Lunettes were often built to protect artillery.

If you observe the parts of earthwork wall where the soil has eroded away, you may notice some large pieces of limestone embedded in the dirt. These rocks were not placed there for extra strength or reinforcement; the earth wall in itself was enough to absorb shot and shell. They were placed there as a building guide. With rocks or logs outlining the size and shape of the lunette, the soldiers simply buried them using the soil dug from the outer ditch.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Forts or CastlesWar, US Civil.
Location. 37° 0.739′ N, 86° 25.96′ W. Marker is in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in Warren County. Marker is on Fort Webb Drive, on the left when traveling north. Located in Fort
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Webb Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bowling Green KY 42101, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fort Webb (within shouting distance of this marker); Defending the L&N Railroad (approx. 0.7 miles away); The Civil War in Bowling Green (approx. ¾ mile away); The Limestone Bluffs (approx. ¾ mile away); The Barren River (approx. ¾ mile away); Bowling Green & Warren County (approx. ¾ mile away); The Bridge (approx. 0.8 miles away); Western Kentucky University (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bowling Green.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on January 12, 2011, by Chad Comer of Gamaliel, Kentucky. This page has been viewed 525 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 12, 2011, by Chad Comer of Gamaliel, Kentucky. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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Jul. 13, 2020