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Glossary

The following terms are defined as specifically used in this book. Some of them of course have other meanings, which are not applicable here.

Arquebus -
Portable firearm invented about 1450, having a matchlock operated by a trigger. (See match.)
Bastion -
A 4-sided salient which projects from the scarp of a fort. The bastion was developed in Italy circa 1450.
Bomb -
A shell, or hollow iron ball filled with explosive and fired from a mortar. Its detonation was timed by a powder fuze.
Bombproof -
A room built to resist destruction by bombardment; a shelter from bombshells.
Bonnet -
A cap, or V-shaped work, raised in front of a fortification salient to shield it from frontal fire.
Caballero -
A cavalier, i. e., a raised platform inside a fort, giving the defender's cannons the advantage of elevation over attacking forces.
Cordon -
The ornamental projecting course of stone where the parapet wall joins the scarp.
Counterguard -
A detached, narrow rampart placed in front of an important wall to prevent fire from breaching it.
Counterscarp -
The wall opposite the scarp; the moat wall.
Covered way -
The area between the moat and the exterior embankment (glacis), protected or "covered" from enemy fire by this embankment.
Curtain -
The wall connecting two bastions, i. e., part of the scarp or main wall of the fort.
Embrasure -
An opening in a wall or parapet, through which cannon are fired.
Enfilade -
To rake the length of a target with gunfire.
Escalade -
The act of climbing the walls of a fortification by ladders.
Firing step -
The raised step or bank along the inside of a parapet, on which soldiers are posted to fire upon the enemy.
Galliot -
Small, swift galley, using both sails and oars.
Gate -
Entrance; sallyport.
Glacis -
The embankment or slope from the covered way toward the open country.
Gorge -
The throat or entrance into a bastion.
Guner's ladle -
A copper scoop fixed to a pole and used for measuring powder and loading it into a cannon.
Hornwork -
An earthwork having a curtain and two half-bastions. Its plan resembles the projecting horns of a bull.
Match -
A wick or cord chemically prepared to burn at uniform rate, for firing a charge of powder.
Mortar -
Short cannon used for firing shells at a high angle, as lobbing them over the walls of a fort into the courtyard.
Musket -
The smooth-bore predecessor of the rifle. Invented about 1540, it was more powerful than the arquebus, which it superseded.
Nueva España -
México, New Spain
Pale -
A pointed stake. Pales were set vertically into the ground or fastened to rails as fencing.
Palisade -
A high fence or barricade of pole timbers set vertically into the ground in a close row as a means of defense.
Parapet -
A wall raised above the main wall or rampart of the fort to protect the defenders from attacking fire.
Pilaster -
Rectangular column with base and capital, inserted into a wall, but projecting outward about a quarter of its width.
Piragua -
A canoe made of a hollowed tree trunk.
Portcullis -
A grating to close the entrance of a fortification.
Postern -
A small rear gate.
Presidio -
A fortified settlement.
Rammer -
A pole having a wooden head for ramming home the projectile or the charge of a cannon.
Rampart -
The main body of a fortification around a place, on which the parapet is raised.
Ravelin -
An outer defense or detached fortification raised before a curtain, especially before the gate, as a shield.
Redoubt -
A small fortification completely closed by a parapet, thus allowing encircling fire.
Sally port -
Exit for troops; fort entrance; gate.
Scarp -
The front slope of the rampart or main wall of the fort.
Sponge -
Brush or swab affixed to a pole and used for cleaning the bore of the cannon after discharge.
Tabby -
A building concrete made from lime, shell, sand and water.
Terreplein -
The horizontal surface in rear of the parapet, on which guns may be mounted.
Traverse -
A barrier (as a bank of earth) across part of a defensive area, to give protection form enfilade fire.
Wormer -
A double screw on the end of a pole, used for extracting the wad or cartridge from a muzzle-loading gun.

 
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