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Re: Sharpshooters
In Response To: Re: Sharpshooters ()

Len: Perhaps the 30th Battalion of Sharpshooters were Sharpshooters in name only. I suspect this may be the case since the ANV Sharpshooters did not have any artillery units attached. Not much is known about Sharpshooters in the AOT but I don't think they had artillery attached either.

In the ANV, organization of battalions of Sharpshooters as a seperate fighting force took place in the closing months of 1863.
As information on these Sharpshooter battalions becomes more available,it may explain why the ANV did so well in the latter battles of the war when they were almost always overmatched by the Union Army. These were the exact men you wanted to have in a Stand Up Fight. They did not run!

Only the finest soldiers were selected to try and qualify for these battalions. If they couldn't meet all the requirements such as range estimation, markmenship and military bearing they were sent back to their original units. They were pulled out of line and received special battalion training in concealment and small unit tactics. Many NCOs in the regular CS army gave up their rank to become a private in the Sharpshooters. They also had special insigia on their uniforms to signify that they belonged to a Sharpshooter battalion and were not under obligation to obey orders from regular infantry officers.

They have been likened to be the equivalent of todays Army Rangers in the 1860s. I suspect that they were considered elite units.

The above information can be found in mainly 3 books. Two are written during the period after the war by the men who were in command.

They are:
"Lee's Sharpshooters" by Major W.S.Dulop who commanded the Sharpshooters of McGowan's Brigade.

"The History of a Brigade of South Carolinians" by Lt. Caldwell of McGowans Brigade. Lt. Caldwell actually started this book during the war.

"Shock Troops of the Confederacy" by Fred L. Ray. This book talks more about the tactics and their effect on the conduct of the last years of the war than the previous two.

All three are a good read and I would reccomend them to anyone who wanted to learn about a little known arm of the Confederate Army

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