A Peculiar Confederate Marksman
|During the period in front of Yorktown, Berdan’s men talked about one particular confederate marksman more than any other– a black sharpshooter. It seems he occupied a hollow tree over one thousand yards in front of their line. Apparently armed with a telescopic rifle, he kept the pickets pinned down with an affective fire. Troubled by this enemy the officers sent for a detachment of Berdan’s men to deal with him. A member of the 1st US Sharpshooters described how he and another Sharpshooter dispatched the unusual enemy.
One of our men in company G named Brown, has a small telescopic rifle, weighing only 32 1/2 pounds. He and I were detailed for Special duty, this sad duty being to kill a rebel sharpshooter—a big negro—who had been picking off our men. We waited a long time for a sight of him but he did not show himself. It was getting towards night , when a puff of smoke was seen to rise from a tree near the fort, and a bullet came whistling past our heads. we now arranged our plans. By the aid of a glass I could see his black “mug” peeping from behind a tree. I elevated my sight and fired . It must have come close, for he sprang out . As he did so Brown fired and “my joker” fell, with a bullet through him. Brown had his sight elevated for fifteen hundred yards
Letter from “P” dated APRIL 28TH 1862. also supported by a letter from John Cooley dated April 27th 1862