Ozias Sanford, Co. 'E' 1st USSS
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Author:  Bill Skillman [ Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Ozias Sanford, Co. 'E' 1st USSS


A fascinating studio photo of Pvt. Sanford posted on the Shiloh Sharps (1863 percussion discussion group). What is interesting about this photo is it shows Sanford standing with his dst Sharps rifle and tang sight fixed to the wrist of the stock. So despite my contention that Sharpshooters did not modify their rifles, this is the singluar incidence after 20 years of research that I have discovered where a sharpshooter added his own sight to the issue Sharps. He is attired in Regulation USSS uniform coat, trousers and cap.

His hand is covering the front sight, so I can't tell if he further modified his rifle by adding a globe sight.

According to 'Buffalo Bob' , who posted the photo also discovered a letter (dated May 6, 1864) written by Sanford to his father about the Battle of the Wilderness. One line in the letter said: "I tried my new sights and they work well." Obviously referring to the tang sight in the photo. Bob googled "Ozias Sanford" and found the photo showing a picture of the sight that he wrote his father about after the Battle of the Wilderness; Bob reports: "So I decided to relieve the dealer of the burden of having that letter."

Keep in mind that Sanford's rifle is the EXCEPTION to the rule. Sharps rifles were considered Government property and were not to be tampered with. The Captain was responsible for any damage or loss of the Sharps.

Bill Skillman
Randolph Mess-USSS

Author:  BrianTWhite [ Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ozias Sanford, Co. 'E' 1st USSS

Bill, to clarify, Sanford was a member of Company F 1st U.S.S.S. His service record is below. Also, the backdrop and pillar are identical to an 1862 cdv portrait of Artemas Cross, also a recruit from the late summer of that year, whose image was taken while still in Vermont. Cross is pictured in green cap and frock, sky blue trousers, and accoutrements including a Sharps cart. box, holding a Sharps rifle. The picture of Sanford is a bit confusing since he says in his 1864 letter that he tried his "new" sights, but he is clearly in a Vermont studio posing with his rifle. He could have managed a furlough home at some point I guess...I'd like to see the back of that cdv!

I also located a letter group by Sanford including May 7th, May 31st (both 1864) and April 10th 1865 letters. I haven't found the vendor or auction site that sold the May 6th letter. I should note that the May 7th letter states that he was sick in the hospital with the auge but he did participate in the first day's fighting.

Residence Cornwall VT, age 33, telegraph operator.
Enlisted on 7/23/1862 as a Private.

On 9/20/1862 he mustered into "F" Co.
US Volunteers 1st SharpShooters
He was transferred out on 12/23/1864

On 12/23/1864 he transferred into "E" Co. VT 2nd SharpShooters
He was transferred out on 2/25/1865

On 2/25/1865 he transferred into "G" Co. VT 4th Infantry
He was Mustered Out on 6/19/1865

Author:  Bill Skillman [ Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ozias Sanford, Co. 'E' 1st USSS

The following is from "The Final Civil War Diary of Charles B. Mead of Company F United States Sharpshooters" edited by Elaine Purdy for the Rutland Historical Quarterly. Vol 32 No. 1 2002.

Thu. Apr. 21 -Sanford and I went over to the target AM. and fired about thirty rounds -my sights are improved -and Sanford's gun shots very accurate. Shot at 3 and 500 yards. P.M. wrote copying orders. Brig. Dress Parade. Sanford and I whisted Si and Susan in the eve.

Mead's entry indicates Sanford using his improved sights on April 21st at distances of 3-5 football fields.

Bill Skillman
Hudson Squad Mess-USSS

Author:  Lt.1 [ Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ozias Sanford, Co. 'E' 1st USSS

Your old topic and photo became the point of a renewed discussion on 12/01/13 when I visited my friend and he showed me his original Bucktail/Berdan rifle. On the tang where the serial number is stamped, his rifle has an extra drilled and taped screw present which appears to have been added during the 19th century. If only these rifles could talk.

Chip Knappenberger
Co. C, 2nd. U.S.S.S.

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