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 Post subject: How to catch a picket
PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2021 7:53 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:33 pm
Posts: 320
Location: Old Northwest (Michigan)
Fellow Sharpshooters.

I have been going through my old files and discovered a pair of 'bedtime storys' provided by Gary Yee for the High Ground website, circa 2004. Unfortunately, he didn't identify the author or the source, but I'm fairly certain it describes one of three New York Indians who enlisted in Company F (Vermont) 1st USSS.

"We marched several miles and drove in their pickets, which were nearly a mile in front of their breastworks, and saw a Reb that one of the Company F Indians had taken prisoner. He was the most disgusted Reb I ever saw. He was behind some rails they had pile up to protect them, and out in front was an open field with big stones, some higher than a man, and near the woods, which were big trees and no underbrush. He said he saw the Indian go behind the stone, and was waiting for him to come out to get a shot at him, when the first thing he knew the Indian's gun came over the end of the rails and there was nothing to do but to surrender. He asked the Indian if he was the one that went behind the stone. The Indian said he was, but wouldn't tell the Reb how he got out without being seen. The Reb said he had read of the Indians doing such things, but didn't believe such yarns, but had to believe it this time. He said he didn't care so much about being taken prisoner, but hated to have such a game as that played on him. The Indian just laughed at him as did the rest of us."

"A Senaca Indian made a bet that he would capture a rebel sharpshooter who was in a tree in front of our line in Virginia. He enveloped himself in pine boughs until he looked like a tree, and by slow movements advanced near the sharpshooter's roost. Here, Indian like, he patiently waited until his prey had emptied his piece at one of our men, when he suddenly brought his musket to bear upon the reb, giving him no time to reload. The sharpshooter was taken at a disadvantage. To the command to come down he readily assented, when the Indian triumphantly marched him a prisoner into camp and won his wager."

The tactic used by the 'Seneca Indian' attaching foliage to his uniform and accoutrements to break up his silhouette should be familiar to readers of Wyman White's book, where he learned to use corn leaves as camouflage from a Michigan Indian.

I've used this same tactic after catching the attention of some sharp-eyed Reb, who waited with rifle cocked at a bush I'd dived behind. Instead of popping up into his sights, I took advantage of tall grass and dips in the ground to slowly worm my way onto his flank. He'd still be focused on the brush when my Sharps slowly parted the grass and soft whistle let him know he was a prisoner. One frustrated Reb complained: Are you all out there breeding in them weeds? We no sooner run off one bunch of you green fellows than another pops up!!

Bill Skillman
Hudson Squad Mess

PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 1:13 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 07, 2009 7:38 am
Posts: 108

Great stories! I've not seen those before.


Mike Thomas

140th PVI, Co A

1st USSS, Co H

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