Redans, Angles, Entrenchments – Labeling Features on the 1863 Map of Raleigh’s Wall

I’ve been developing a Google map of the Civil-War-era map of the defenses here in Raleigh, NC. (To see that map, take a look at “1863 Map of the approaches to Raleigh NC and Civil War entrenchments [Guion map]“).

In creating the modern-day map, I’ve been trying to decide what terms to use for the various features on the 1863 survey. Lt Col Henry T. Guion, the author of the map, did not include a key, so I’ve had to do a bit of study in glossaries and guides to decide how to label the portions of wall themselves.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far, although these designations are still preliminary.

I’m calling these “Redans”:

These are the artillery emplacements on the map. I had read that a redan is technically headed by a salient angle (a point, as in the structure to the left). So I wondered about the example to the right, which presents a blunt surface to the enemy. However, I later read that this flat surface is called a “pan coupĂ©,’ and can be a feature of a redan.

These I’m referring to as “Angles”:

I had been calling them “corners,” but sources seem to agree on the term “Angle.”

I’m calling this an “Entrenchment Line”:

I’ve thought about using the term “Parapet,” but I’m still unclear whether a parapet can refer to the entire wall above the level of the ground, or whether a parapet is an added feature on top of the wall itself.

I wondered whether the way Guion drew these lines (three parallel lines) indicates anything about their construction, whether they are meant to be just earthworks, or whether they might include other materials such as tree trunks and stones — or something else. In the end, I settled on just plain “Entrenchments.” In his map title, Guion refers to the map as “Showing the line of intrenchments” around Raleigh, so I thought I would just stick with the generic term “Entrenchment Line” for the stretches of wall shown on the map.

Here is Guion’s map title:

So that’s where things stand now. Soon I hope to publish my Google map, which should provide interactive access to the locations of the Raleigh fortifications on today’s landscape. In the meantime, I’m considering these terms preliminary, so if any reader can offer better alternatives, please leave a comment below.

Some useful references:

“A Glossary of Fortification Terms,” American Battlefield Trust

“Glossary,” The Civil War and Northwest Wisconsin

A. Roy Bredenberg — 19 Dec. 2019

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