There is evidence it was used as early as the Roman Imperial period, and as recently as the American Civil War. Abatis is rarely seen nowadays, having been largely replaced by wire obstacles. However, it may be used as a replacement or supplement when barbed wire is in short supply. A form of giant abatis, using whole trees instead of branches, can be used as an improvised anti-tank obstacle.
A classic use of an abatis was found at the Battle of the Chateauguay, 26 October 1813, when