The Second Line of Confederate Works near the McCoull Lane – washing away

In March of 2014 I was exploring the area adjacent to the West McCoull Lane looking for the elusive traces of the location of Tanners Battery May 11-2, 1864. This battery had been very near Carrington’s battery that day. In fact had been the last of Cutshaw’s batteries to be put into position.


The area of the main line and second line adjacent to the West McCoull Lane. Tanner’s battery should have been in this area.

Despite feeling that I knew where they should be I wasn’t comfortable with what I had found previously. While there are several small positions on the Confederate left of the West McCoull Lane nothing that looks like a lunette. So once more I went out looking in this wooded area. But what I found was not Tanner’s position but perhaps something more important. I got a look at what is happening to the remains of the second line. This line, which was finally dug on this sector on the afternoon of May 11th, ran behind the Stonewall Brigades line. On the left it connects with the line which Rodes people had dug earlier. This culminates in the reentrant line which terminates at the main line to the right of the 3rd Howitzers position.


the second line trench below the culvert. You can clearly see the water coming in from the uphill and the damage already done to the works here. Also notice what appears to be a balk between the two pools of water.


A excellent view of the second line ditch and parapet as it runs in almost a straight line behind the Stonewall Brigades line. Some of Gordon’s men would have come int these trenches in the early morning of May 12. Fortunately they would be withdrawn before being overwhelmed.


almost directly below the culvert you can see where water has broken through the parapet. But you can also see that the trench  is different depths. Dug that way or has the tree naturally collected debris as it runs “downstream”?

When the current road was built through the park it passed close behind the Confederate main line which ran from where the West McCoull Lane toward Doles Salient.  In doing so they had built the road bed up which prevented the water from running out of these works. So a culvert was run under the road to alleviate the problem. Unfortunately it runs down through some small positions, foxholes and the like, before washing up against the parapet of the second line. There it has cut through in several places, and those places will over time expand.


About Russ

Avid student of military history as well as amateur historian. Has a keen interest in archaeology. Founded his company in 2004.
This entry was posted in 1864, American Civil War, Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, Battle of the Muleshoe, Bloody Angle, Carrington's Battery, Doles Salient, Earthworks and trenchs, field fortifications, May 12, Mule Shoe, Overland Campaign 1864, Tanner's Battery, West Angle and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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