THE SHARPSHOOTER 1862-1864
--In the Civil War, a Texican fights for The Union at the Battles of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville--

Battlefield Performance


U.S. Sharpshooters at Chancellorsville from Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War, 1868.
(p. 263)



PERFORMANCE OF THE US SHARPSHOOTERS AT CHANCELLORSVILLE AND GETTYSBURG


CHANCELLORSVILLE

From Major General Dan Sickles' official report on the III Corps' action:

    "The Sharpshooters under Col. Berdan supported the First Brigade on the right, throwing out a strong line of skirmishers to the front
     of the woods.  These splendid light troops rendered most effective service." [emphasis added] (p. 265)

CHANCELLORSVILLE

From Captain Dalton, 3rd Division, III Corps:

     "The U.S. Sharpshooters were placed on the right of the 1st brigade to prevent the enemy from flanking our right. They were deployed
      in the wood and did most excellent service." [emphasis added] (p. 264)


GETTYSBURG

Statement of Major General Dan Sickles, Commander of III Corps at Gettysburg:

     "In 1886 I met many Confederate officers at Gettysburg, and in conversation with Gen. Longstreet, asked him
      what his intentions were on that day [second day of battle at Gettysburg]
         
           'To take possession of the Peach Orchard and the ridge,' was the reply'
         
           'What prevented your taking that position at once?'

           'Your sharpshooters, who smoked us out of the woods on your flank.' [emphasis added]

     "When I asked him what would have been the result of his possession of the ridge and peach orchard without
      resistance, he said the Confederates would have won the battle of Gettysburg." (p. 307)


All of the above come from Stevens, Captain C. A.. (1892) .Berdan's United States Sharpshooters in the Army of the Potomac 1861-1865. St. Paul, Minnesota. 


Charles Phillips' note: Sickles’ action at Gettysburg, the unauthorized movement of III Corps forward from Cemetery Ridge on July 2, has been roundly criticized.  Many believe this advance was the direct cause of the horrific losses of the 1st Minnesota at Gettysburg, as they valiantly filled the gap in Union lines left by Sickles’ action.  Sickles’ account of the battle at Gettysburg differs dramatically from this interpretation.  He claims his advance saved Little Round Top and protected the Union’s left flank.  In fact, he claims that his actions contributed immensely to the Union victory at Gettysburg by delaying Longstreet’s flank attack, providing precious time for Federal troops to reach and successfully defend Little Round Top.  Above, Sickles is recounting a conversation he had at an 1886 Gettysburg reunion with General Longstreet, who commanded the flanking movement on the second day of the battle at Gettysburg, that seems to support his position.  One does well to remember that this is Sickles’ recollection of the conversation, and that General Longstreet’s career after the War of Rebellion was one he pursued in government service, largely at the largesse of politicians like Dan Sickles and his friends.

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