from The Century Dictionary.
- noun In fortification, originally, a mass of earth raised for the purpose either of protecting a body of troops at one extremity of their line, or of forming a wing or shoulder of a battery to prevent the guns from being dismounted by an enfilading fire.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Probably they intended to dig a gun epaulment from which they could safely pound away at the ship.
Some sunken pits for artillery had been made on the south side of the river on the right of the railroad in low, flat ground so as to sweep the east side of the railroad embankment that was on the north, but was unoccupied; there were also rifle trenches connected with this epaulment, and lower down to cover a point at which the enemy had had a bridge.
I crawled up to the epaulment and peered down into the dusty street.
Upon its flat top two or three guns were already emplaced, and an epaulment for another was in course of construction.
a small battery of field artillery, behind an epaulment, supported by a battalion of infantry.