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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:02 pm 
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Seven Pines, Va. Twin houses on battlefield, with 32-pdr. field howitzer in foreground

Interesting image with Single Trigger Sharps, with Sling and Saber Bayonet Lug.

ImageImage

Image

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:13 pm 
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You can even see the two men that have the Sabre Bayonet right above the Sharps Rifle. Nice photo.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:54 am 
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Fellow Sharpshooters;

In an exchange on the Authentic Campaigner, Doug Cooper sent me the photo that you have posted above, accompanied by the following text: Here is a photo of what may be Co L, First Minnesota in a redoubt (Casey's I believe) just after Fair Oaks. The photo has always been identified as "First Minnesota Squad, Just After Fair Oaks." The men are lounging about in one of the great unposed field photographs and over a stump in the right of the photo is what looks like a Sharp's Rifle.Attached Thumbnails

http://www.authentic-campaigner.com/for ... sota+squad

The rifle is very clearly a New Model 1859 Sharps breechloader. However, it is the standard military model (note the trigger guard/loading lever latch, sword bayonet lug); not the 'Berdan Contract' (featuring the twin or 'hair' triggers) arms that Jno. Palmer, Sharps Rifle Co. president, modified in accordance to Col. Berdan's specifications.

I have copies of Josiah Cheney's letters from the Minnesota Archives(served with Co. 'L' of the Minnesota Sharpshooters). Cheney reported his company did not arrive at Washington DC until the AoP was already on the Peninsula; (on account of heavy ice still on the lakes that delayed their departure from MN). He reports that upon arrival in DC they were issued uniforms and accoutrements and assigned to Berdan's 1st Regt instead of the 2nd as they had originally been intended. Upon arrival at the Peninsula they were armed with the Sharps rifles and recieved drill from Capt. Drew (Co. G. 1st USSS-KIA at Glendale). Shortly after (actually during the fighting) the battle of Fair Oaks, Co. 'L' was reassigned to the 1st MN Infantry, with whom they served until muster out. While the photograph above suggests the men may be Co. 'L', formerly of the 1st USSS, questions still remain.

Wiley Sword speculated that some of the rifles issued to Berdan's command may have been single trigger. However, Mike Fahle and few other sharp-eyed chaps have found that upon inspecting original NM1859 rifles (after removing the lock and trigger plates on rifles with single trigger) the wood in the wrist of the stock has the mortise for the set trigger system. The only man who can truly be identified as using a Sharps single trigger/miliatry model rifle was Truman "California Joe" Head, who purchased his from the Sharps sales rep while at Camp of Instruction.

If this is truly a photo of the '1st Minnesota (Sharpshooters) Squad', it could be one of the few USSS photos of men in the field known to exist. To be certain, I'd put Brian White to work to enlarge and isolate the men's faces and then compare them to provenanced images of men in USSS (MN) collections. Right, Brian?

Bill Skillman
Randolf Mess-USSS


Last edited by Bill Skillman on Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 4:53 pm 
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Dave that is a great picture. I notice that a couple of those fellows are carrying the sword bayonets as well. Thnks for posting it.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 4:59 pm 
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Bill,
I also thank you for all of the detailed information and for getting that picture to Dave R. for all of us to see. You guys continue to add spice to the stew that is this topic.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:59 pm 
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Captain Dave,

Kudos really are for Dave and Doug Cooper regarding the image. While Doug provided the original image (you can see the handwritten 'identification' along the white pasteboard border on the AC website using the link I attached), the image creates more questions than answers, at least for me.

Earl Coates and John McCulay published a nice little book entitled Sharps Civil War Carbines and Rifles that I use as a reference for all things Sharps. On page 20, they provide the forth quarter, 1862 Ordnance returns for the AoP (they include the 26th Missouri and 12th KY infantry, but they were Western theater regiments). Okay, lets cut to the chase:

42nd PA VI (aka 13th Rifles/Original Bucktails-obtained Sharps from the USSS surplus at Washington Arsenal)= 140
6th Connecticut VI =178
7th ditto= 168
8th ditto= 92
11th ditto= 78
13th ditto= 192
14th ditto= 36
15th Mass= 22 (Andrews Sharpshooters attached to the Regt-recieved Sharps from Berdan)
1st MN (Co. L/formerly Co. L-1st USSS)=30
5th NY (Co. E and I-Duryea's Zouaves)=22
2nd New Hampshire= 60
1st USSS (third quarter, 1862 ordnance return)=508+39 in armorers stores.

The State of Connecticut purchased 1442 NM1859 Sharps rifles from May 1861 to August 19, 1862. These arms were originally destined for Egypt, but were diverted to the US use beginning on April 20, 1861. 600 of these rifles were 3 band, 36 inch long barrels, with saber bayonets. 562 long barrel Sharps were issued to the 2nd Conn VI; and later issued to the 8th and 11th regiments. June 1861 deliveries of the 30 inch long barrel NM1859 Sharps weree issued to Co. A & B of the 4th Conn VI--which was changed to Heavy Artillery in January.

The 1st and 2nd Conn VI used their Sharps too good effect at 1st Bull Run-I suspect they being 3 month regiments the arms were then reissued to 3 years regiments. The 5th NY issued Sharps to their 'flank' companies after Duryea specifically requested them from Gen. Winfield Scott-they initially performed guard duty in Baltimore. Also in this mix was .56 caliber Sharps rifles that had previously been made for the US Navy, which were issued to the Sturgis Rifles (Gen. Geo. B. McClellans bodyguard).

So this brings us back to the question...who are these guys at Fair Oaks???? I hope to get an answer by locating the date the photo was taken and compare it to regiments listed in the Official Records who were present in that vicinity. Unfortunately, I do not believe they are USSS--otherwise the rifle would be a 'Berdan Contract' NM1859, 30 inch barrel, set/'hair' trigger, 800 yard rear sight; and no bayonet lug below the front sight. The men were issued the triangular 'Collins and Co.' bayonets instead. Likewise, the 13th PA Rifles and Andrews Sharpshooters used the same configured arm/bayonet.

Oh, check out the officer who is curled up asleep behind the ammunition chest. There is some type of metallic device attached to his cap. I don't know if this is a ventilator or some type of unit identification. Also, check out the 'ghost battalion' in the distance beyond the earthworks--in formation, bayonetted arms at right shoulder shift. Lots of wonderful details in this photo for the curious.

Bill Skillman
Randolf Mess=USSS


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:38 pm 
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Bill,
You certainly are correct about adding more questions. Thanks for the details in your response. As for the "ghost battalion", look to their left and you can see the sort of "trailing off" image of the bayonets. I think they were marching across the field of view from left to right. The snoozing fellow's cap decoration is a puzzle. Could it be crossed small cannons with a number and letter above and below? The apparatus with a blanket might be a sort of shebang for someone to get out of the sun. The photo brings out the stark reality of what happens to perfectly decent land that is occupied by large groups of soldiers during wartime. Even a hardcore reenactor has to respect the fact that these guys are "resting" out in the broiling sun in the dirt, not on cool grass under some large shade tree.
I also want to thank Dave and Doug Cooper for bringing this intriguing photo to our attention. This is the kind of thought provoking stuff that just makes my day. I am so glad this forum is up and running again.
In order to be a better contributing member I am working on getting a photo of Captain Jacob McClure of Rockland, Maine scanned and entered into the forum gallery. He led Co. D of the 2nd USSS at Gettysburg and was one of their original "recruiters". The original photo resides in the Maine State Archives. I think you guys will like the photo. The ever resourceful Bonny Knott found his gravesite in New Hampshire and passed it along to me some time ago. She was doing her research on the Granite State's Sharpshooters and remembered that I had been searching for McClure's final resting place for a long time. That is the beauty of this forum, people share!

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:14 pm 
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Fellow Sharpshooters,

I believe that I have started to close in on the identity of the men in the Fair Oaks photograph. I discovered a post by Andrew Kasmar on the Authentic Campaigner dated August 8, 2008 entitled: 'Fair Oaks". Among the respondents, Tom Scouflo posted enlargments of the men, saber bayonets, Sharps rifles and background features; such as the Twin Houses at Fair Oaks. Tom enlarged the cap of the officer who is sleeping just behind the limber box (note the 'pile' of clothing and officers sword). I copied the photo onto my own photo enhancement system and by enlarging just the cap I could begin to identify the brass insignia. The brass insignia very clearly shows crossed artillery barrels and a "H" and "A". This leads me to suspect the men in the photograph are members of either Company 'A' or 'B', previously of the Connecticut 4th Infantry regiment, but whose organization was changed in January 1862 to Heavy Artillery. The 'A' and 'B' companies in most infantry regiments were designated the flank or skirmisher units. The Conn HA regiment retained their Infantry model Sharps rifles throughout their service.

It would be interesting to identify who the snoozing 'on duty' officer is...

Bill Skillman
Randolph Mess
Hudson Squad-USSS


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:43 pm 
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1st Connecticut Regiment of Heavy Artillery: Organized at Washington, D.C., from 4th Conn. Infantry, January 2, 1862. Attached to Military District of Washington to April, 1862. Siege Artillery, Army Potomac, to May, 1862. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 5th Army Corps, Army Potomac, to July, 1862. Siege Artillery, Army Potomac, to August, 1862. Artillery defences Alexandria Military District of Washington, to February, 1863. Artillery defences of Alexandria, 22nd Army Corps, to April, 1863. 2nd Brigade, DeRussy's Division, defences south of the Potomac, 22nd Army Corps, to May, 1863. 3rd Brigade, DeRussy's Division, 22nd Corps, to December, 1863. 2nd Brigade, DeRussy's Division, 22nd Army Corps, to March, 1864. 4th Brigade, DeRussy's Division, 22nd Army Corps, to May, 1864. (Cos. "B" and "M" attached to Artillery Reserve, Army Potomac, October, 1862, to January, 1864.) Point of Rocks, Va., Dept., of Virginia and North Carolina to June, 1864. Siege Artillery, Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina in the field, and siege Artillery, Army Potomac, to May, 1865. Siege Artillery, Dept. of Virginia, to July, 1865. 4th Brigade, DeRussy's Division, 22nd Army Corps, Dept. of Washington, to August, 1865. 3rd Brigade, Dept. of Washington, to September, 1865.

SERVICE--Duty at Fort Richardson, defences of Washington, D.C., until April, 1862. Ordered to the Peninsula, Va., in charge of siege train Army Potomac, April 2. Siege of Yorktown April 12-May 4. Battle of Hanover C. H. May 27. Operations about Hanover C. H. May 27-29. Seven days before Richmond June 25-July 1. Gaines' Mill June 27. Malvern Hill July 1. At Harrison's Landing until August 15. Moved to Alexandria, Va., August 16-27. Duty in the defences of Washington, D.C., until May, 1864, as garrison at Fort Richardson.

Cos. "B" and "M" detached with Army Potomac, participating in battle of Fredericksburg, Va., Dec. 12-15. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5. Stafford Heights June 12. Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 1-3. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8. Brandy Station November 8. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. Rejoined regiment in defences of Washington January, 1864.

Regiment ordered to Bermuda Hundred, Va., May 13, 1864. Engaged in fatigue duty and as garrison for batteries and forts on the Bermuda front and lines before Petersburg during siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond, May, 1864, to April, 1865. Occupy Fort Converse, Redoubt Dutton, Batteries Spofford, Anderson, Pruyn and Perry on the Bermuda front, and Forts Rice, Morton, Sedgwick and McGilvrey, and Batteries 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, Burpee, Drake and Sawyer, on the Petersburg front, and at Dutch Gap, north of the James River.

Assaults on Fort Dutton June 2 and 21, 1864 (Co. "L"). Attacks on the lines May 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 27, 30, 31, June 1, 2, 5, 9, 18, 20 and 23. Mine explosion July 30, August 25, November 17, 18 and 28, 1864. Repulse of rebel fleet at Fort Brady on James River January 23-24, 1865.

Expedition to Fort Fisher, N. C., January 3-15, 1865 (Cos. "B," "G," "L"). Capture of Fort Fisher January 15 (Cos. "B," "G," "L"). Assaults on and fall of Petersburg, Va., April 2, 1865. Duty in the Dept. of Va. until July 11. Moved to Washington, D.C., and duty in the defences of that city until September. Mustered out September 25, 1865.

Regiment lost during service 2 Officers and 49 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 4 Officers and 172 Enlisted men by disease. Total 227.

Note that there were companies of the 1st Heavy Arty put on detached service with the AoP.

Bill Skillman
Randolph Mess
Hudson Squad-USSS


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