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

Infantry Earthworks

 
 
Infantry Earthworks Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
1. Infantry Earthworks Marker
Inscription. “Attacking entrenchments has been tried so often and with such fearful losses that even the stupidest private now knows that it cannot succeed, and the natural consequence follows; the men will not try it. The very sight of a bank of earth brings them to a dead halt.”
- Col. Charles Wainwright, USA, June 18, 1864

Re-created here are samples of some of the infantry earthworks that ringed Petersburg – works that one man said made the landscape resemble “an immense prairie dog village.”

As the siege wore on, assaults against entrenched positions became rare. Most of the pitched battles at Petersburg took place beyond the flanks of the armies, as the Federals inexorably pushed westward to cut the rail lines and roads into the city.
 
Erected by Petersburg National Battlefield - National Park Service - Dept. of the Interior.
 
Location. 37° 13.96′ N, 77° 21.27′ W. Marker is in Petersburg, Virginia. Marker is on Siege Road, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in Petersburg National Battlefield. It is located at Tour Stop 3. Marker is in this post office area: Petersburg VA 23803, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance
Fortifications at Tour Stop 3 image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
2. Fortifications at Tour Stop 3
Examples of various fortifications are in the area of the marker.
of this marker. Prince George Court House Road (here, next to this marker); Monotonous Toil (a few steps from this marker); “A Splendid Charge” (a few steps from this marker); U.S. Colored Troops (within shouting distance of this marker); Battery 8 of the Dimmock Line (approx. 0.3 miles away); Dividing Point (approx. half a mile away); Confederate Battery 6 (approx. 0.7 miles away); Jordon Family Cemetery (approx. mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Petersburg.
 
More about this marker. The left portion of the marker contains a sketch of fortifications with the caption The pickets gave warning of attack. Obstructions like abatis, fraises, and chevaux-de-frise were designed to slow an enemy advance. Infantry in the earthworks and artillery in nearby batteries and forts could then decimate the attacking lines.

The right side of the marker is a drawing of trench fortifications with the caption The trenches offered little shelter from the weather. In this 1864 sketch (below), troops huddle under makeshift shade shelters.
 
Also see . . .
1. Petersburg National Battlefield. National Park Service. (Submitted on April 13, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. The Siege of Petersburg
Artillery Fortifications image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
3. Artillery Fortifications
The fortifications at this site demonstrate the difficulty encountered by any troops attempting to charge them.
. (Submitted on April 13, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
3. Civil War Fortification Study Group. (Submitted on October 31, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Siege Encampment Exhibit - Picket Trench. image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, October 30, 2010
4. Siege Encampment Exhibit - Picket Trench.
Siege Encampment Exhibit - Revetment & Gabion. image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, October 30, 2010
5. Siege Encampment Exhibit - Revetment & Gabion.
Siege Encampment Exhibit - Frise. image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, October 30, 2010
6. Siege Encampment Exhibit - Frise.
Siege Encampment Exhibit - Gabion. image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, October 30, 2010
7. Siege Encampment Exhibit - Gabion.
Siege Encampment Exhibit - Cheveaux-de-Frise image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, October 30, 2010
8. Siege Encampment Exhibit - Cheveaux-de-Frise
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 13, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,210 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 13, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on October 31, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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