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Fort Fisher:

Assessment of the Principal Earthworks:

The Federal "Fish Hook" Line, Petersburg, VA


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Description: Fort Fisher (MAP) is a four-bastioned fort built on a rectangular trace (western face slightly inclined) with positions for 19 field guns, 4 mounted en barbette in the bastion salients, 15 firing through embrasures; length of parapet 582 meters, average relief 4.6 meters, average width 7.3 meters; three magazines--in traverse of northwest bastion, in traverse of northeast bastion, and in central traverse; length of central traverse 54 meters; outer ditch perimeter 675 meters, enclosing 17,228 square meters (4.3 acres); estimated 10,973 cubic meters excavated, requiring 2,058 labor days; prescribed garrison 300 men.

History: originally constructed October 3-18, 1864, as a small, square redoubt designed for seven guns, named for Lt. Otis Fisher, 8th United States Infantry, killed at Peebles Farm; rebuilt in current configuration January-March 1865; occupied at various times by Battery D Pennsylvania Artillery, 27th New York Battery, Batteries C & I of 5th US Artillery with four light 12-pounders (new fort), 9th New York Artillery (new fort); garrisoned at various times by detachments of 45th Pennsylvania Infantry, 31st Maine Infantry, 26th Michigan Infantry, and 116th Pennsylvania infantry (new fort).

Situation: intersection of Church and Flank road bordering on new construction on adjacent private property with minimal buffer; in fairly mature woodland with mixture of large pines and hardwoods and many smaller trees, moderate undergrowth; parapet cover is leaf litter.

Condition: generally in good condition, with well-defined angles, standing water in ditch, southwest bastion breached for access road, ditch filled adjacent to road, compacted game trail on outside of parapet between guns 12 and 13, several areas of isolated erosion or compaction, surviving gun embrasures, platforms and ramps, sections of banquette, drainage ditch and sump.

Bastion: an earthwork configuration with two faces and two flanks, forming three salient angles; typically connected to another bastion by a parapet or curtain wall.

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