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Wall of snow used to protect opposing teams in a snowball fight.

Royal and James were choosing sides, to play snow-fort. Royal chose Frank, and James chose Almanzo. When everyone was chosen, they all went to work, rolling snowballs through the deep drifts by the barn. They rolled till the balls were almost as tall as Almanzo; then they rolled them into a wall. They packed snow between them, and made a good fort. – Farmer Boy, Chapter 26, “Christmas”

To Build a Snow Fort:

To make a snow fort, wooden spades may be used, if the snow is loose; when, however, it cakes, heavier implements are necessary, as the weight and resistance of the blocks would soon destroy a wooden shovel. A snowball may be brought to almost any size, first by kneading a small one with the hands, for the nucleus, and then rolling it over and over, when it will gain size in its progress, until at last it can only be moved by employing the leverage of long poles. To make a snow fort, the foundations should at first be marked out, either in a square or circular form, and then clear out the snow from within, piling it upon the line of boundary to form the wall. A similar process goes on from without, and thus a good stout wall is soon produced, which must be considerably broader at the base than at the top. The size of the construction, and the plan, must necessarily depend upon the number of boys engaged in rearing it, and the supply of material in the form of snow. In a castle of ambitious construction, there should be a parapet, raised above the wall, on the top of which latter the defenders stand, to ward off the attacks of the besieging party. Loopholes should also be pierced, through which the smaller boys, hidden in the interior, harass the approaching enemy with snowballs. The height of the fort, exclusive of the parapet, should not exceed six feet, or seven at the most; and care must be taken, in piercing the loopholes, to strengthen the surrounding parts, or the attacking party may find a breach most conveniently made, through which they can enter the fortress, to the discomfiture of the defenders. The snowballs used for the bombardment and defense must not be made too hard or too large, and all the military operations should be conducted with that good humor and love of fair play for which American boys are in general famous. — The American Boy’s Book of Sports and Games, 1864.


snow-fort (FB 26)