The Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board - Archive

Re: Sharpshooters
In Response To: Sharpshooters ()

"there will at once be organized a Battalion of Skirmishers for this Brigade.

This is the key thing to note... A sharpshooter battalion was NOT an organization of snipers, as we have come to look at the word "sharpshooter" these days, but skirmishers... scouts who operated in open, or "skirmish" order in front of the brigade or division line of battle to search out and find the enemy force, test its strength, and maintain contact so as to prevent surprise and guide the main battle line to the key spot on the field. Sharpshooters are purely light infantry in the terms described by Hardee's and Casey's tactics manuals, and very similar to the Stosstruppen (shock troops) or (storm detachments) developed by the Germans some fifty years later in an effort to break the static stand-off of trench warfare. They go out and find (or create) holes in the enemy's defense, and the maneuver commander then sends his main force to take advantage of that opportunity.

The Western Independent Greys did a re-creation of one of these battalions at the 140th anniversary observance at Chickamauga National Battlefield back in 2003, and plans are underway to field as the 12th Arkansas Sharpshooters, I believe, at this fall's re-enactment of the battle of Corinth.