The History of Berdan’s Sharpshooters


Before the civil war broke out in American the soon to be founder of the Sharpshooter’s was a man called Hiram Berdan who was at the time one of the country’s leading marksmen who had taken part in many shooting competitions around the many states and at the time was very well known as well.

Eventually the Civil War struck out starting with the first shots at Fort Summer from the Confederacy marking the beginning of the war. This caused Hiram Berdan to spring into action to start developing and planning a unique regiment which would be made up of America’s best marksmen at the time. Hiram Berdan had little difficulty in making this a reality due to his political connections which would later have his idea approved by the war department in the Union Army. He was then appointed and given the role of Colonel of the 1st United States Sharpshooters in July 1861. However he had no men to fill the ranks of this new regiment in which Hiram Berdan then started the announcements and calling for the formation of the Sharpshooters with one requirement;


“A man could only be enlisted if they could put 10 shots in succession within five inches from the centre at a distance of six hundred feet from rest or three hundred feet off hand.”


Now that may sound like a distance to do with the technology at the time, but the recruit did have an advantage of some sort by being able to use their own rifle for the training on their rifle’s open sight. The target they shot at was not any bigger than a dinner plate putting even greater difficulty on the enlisting recruit. However as said before Colonel Berdan was looking to fill a regiment of unique soldiers with great marksmanship.

Eventually he managed to find the recruits and created two regiments, the 1st USSS which was commanded and operated under Col. Berdan Himself and consisted of ten companies. And the 2nd USSS which was commanded and operated by Col. Henry which consisted of eight companies.

The 1st United States Sharpshooters Company E was formed and created in New Hampshire on September the 9th 1861, and was under the command of Cpt. Amos B. Jones.