Engineers of the American Civil War were mainly called upon to build roads and bridges for the army, and on occasion to destroy these when the army was retreating. They would also be employed if fortifications were required, such as those built by the Confederates around Petersburg. Any army would sooner or later find engineers indispensable, so this set fulfils an important function.
The figures show men engaged in various construction-type tasks. Some are carrying wood or sacks, others digging or using a pickaxe. The man apparently using a large lever to move a rock about the size of a football seems a bit pointless, but the pair pulling a rope will have many uses including moving artillery. The officer is directing the operation, with either a plan or a map in hand.
All the figures wear the standard fatigue dress of most ACW soldiers, and most wear the fatigue cap as well. Many are in shirt sleeves, and their general appearance seems appropriate to the hard work they are doing. In the Confederate army such work was done by men pulled from the ranks of the infantry as required until 1864, when two newly raised regiments of engineers joined the army. But engineers or specially detailed infantry, their appearance would have been much the same. The officer too is much like his infantry counterpart except in insignia and branch-of-service colour, which was buff for the Confederates and black for the Union.
The set includes several accessories which should prove useful in adding extra realism to battle scenes. The chevaux-de-frise, logs spiked with sharpened wooden stakes, became a very common sight on many battlefields and are particularly appropriate to this period. The gabions, barrels and boxes are of more general usefulness for many periods.
The Confederates were the first to appreciate how well built entrenchments could compensate for their often inferior numbers, but as the war progressed both sides used large numbers of engineers. Like most American Civil War figures, those in this set can represent the engineers of either side simply by altering the painting. The figures are well sculpted, properly proportioned and accurate. This is a most useful set that covers an unusual subject with some fine figures.