THE SHARPSHOOTER 1862-1864
--In the Civil War, a Texican fights for The Union at the Battles of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville--
SYNOPSIS
How is it that a Texican might have fought with Berdan's Sharpshooters at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg?

That's the story told in--
 
THE SHARPSHOOTER 1862-1864

A
lmost everyone sees Texas during the Civil War as a state completely covered in gray.  Many of the citizens in Texas in that era, with roots in the deep south, were fiercely committed to the Rebellion.  That commitment was so strong that these Rebels subjected the Unionists who remained in Texas,many of them immigrants, to persistent and deadly persecution.  Jurian Baecker, the protagonist in THE SHARPSHOOTER, was part of a Unionists' community in central Texas.

Jurian Baecker came to Texas as a child.  His parents brought Jurian and his older brother from Germany to settle in a small, German farming community in central Texas.   As Jurian matured, he clearly saw that he would be neither a Lutheran minister like his father nor a farmer like his brother. Instead, he built his own cabin and corrals outside town, where he busted, trained, and traded  horses.  He also took the occasional trip to northern Mexico and returned with horses or cattle everyone knew he did not have the money to purchase. 

When the Civil War came, the German communities in Texas, Unionists, resisted conscription into the Army of the Confederacy and Rebel rule.  Because of resistance to conscription, Confederate authorities declared martial law in all of Texas.  Unlike the rest of Texas, however, the central Texas counties where German immigrants resided were declared to be in "open rebellion" against the CSA. Jurian leaves Texas for Mexico, barely escaping
The Nueces Massacre of German Unionists by Rebel forces.  In Mexico, Jurian becomes a border raider and rustler dubbed "The Flying Dutchman" by his comrades.

Eventually, Jurian realizes that he can not ignore the war that had taken such a bloody toll on his neighbors. When he leaves Mexico, he leaves Jurian Baecker and The Flying Dutchman behind and becomes a new man--Jake Baker. He goes to New Orleans to join the 1st Texas Cavalry, US, one of the few units in the Union Army composed entirely of citizens from a state that seceded and joined the Confederate States of America.   Jake Baker joins the Union Army and, like and a number of other Texicans. becomes a member of one of the most renowned units in the Union Army--Berdan's Sharpshooters. Jake and the 1st Regiment of the US Sharpshooters fight in the defeat at Chancellorsville and the bloody victory at Gettysburg.  Later, Sergeant Baker and his company of Texican sharpshooters are detailed to Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley, where responsibility for the safety of a community of German pacifists falls to Jake.

Jake's, or Jurian's, journey takes him from breaking horses in central Texas, to raiding large
haciendas in northern Mexico, to some of the most important battles of the Civil War, and finally to a deadly skirmish with the Virginia Home Guard in the Shenandoah Valley.   Along the way, he makes and loses good friends.  He also finds two extraordinary women he loves, but whom he must leave.

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"I...invite my fellow citizens...with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, [to] commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the ....Almighty....to heal the wound of the nation...."
 

                     Abraham Lincoln's 1863 proclamation
                     establishing Thanksgiving Day as an official
                     national holiday.




Photo Above:  Types of ordinance fired by artillery during the Civil War

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