This illustration shows the simplest and most common type of earthworks, created by soldiers, laborers, or slaves using shovels, picks, or whatever else they could find. The first step would be to pile up dirt for a parapet, or embankment protecting the soldiers. Digging the trench behind it would take longer; the ditch in front was sometimes omitted. The earthworks built by the Union army as they advanced toward Corinth during the Siege and those connecting the large batteries during the Battle of Corinth were of this type.
Questions for Illustration 2
1. Using the men in the trench as a guide, how high do you think the parapet is? How deep is the trench? According to one author, it would take between one and two hours to construct a simple parapet and trench, depending on what kind of dirt it was and whether it was wet or dry. How difficult do you think it would have been to build an earthwork like this?
2. What purpose do you think the headlog served?
3. By the end of the Civil War, armies dug entrenchments every place they stopped. What effect might that have had on the ability of an army to move quickly or to attack by surprise?
* The photo on this screen has a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a larger version of Illustration 2, but be aware that the file will take as much as 60 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.