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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2023 12:07 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:33 pm
Posts: 296
Location: Old Northwest (Michigan)
Fellow Sharpshooters

In the previous topic I cited the account of Luke Emerson Bicknell/Andrews SS being issued Colt revolvers, and that he and his platoon used them with good effect to protect a U.S. artillery battery at Fair Oaks.

This account appeared in Bicknell's post war memoir entitled The Sharpshooters, and is available through the Massachusetts Historical Society. Dr. Roberta Senechal included Bickenll's letters to his future wife in her book Our Aim was Man that includes his description of the Battle at Fair Oaks. Unlike the intense combat using the newly issued Colts to defend an artillery battery, Bicknell and other Andrews report that they were held in reserve and didn't get sent to the front lines. In light of questionable tactical deployment of Colts to protect artillery, it sounds suspiciously like, in this case, Bicknell exaggerated his service on this day.

When the Army of Potomac broke camp at Harrison's landing, the Andrews were part of the Army that marched back to Ft. Monroe, the target rifles AND COLTS were put on the company wagons and hauled north. When they arrived at Alexandria, Captain Saunders and Bicknell discovered they had to turn in their custom made target rifles in exchange for Sharps breechloaders. The original intent for them to operate as "snipers" was officially over.

Ironically, a second platoon of sharpshooter-recruits, raised by Capt. William Plumer, arrived in the spring of 1863 armed with custom made/telescope target rifles. At Gettysburg, Bicknell's platoon arrived with the Second Army Corps and were detailed to protect batteries near Ziegler's Grove from CSA sharpshooters. Capt. Plumer's platoon arrived with 6th Corps the evening of July 2nd, and dueled with Capt. Blackford's Alabama sharpshooters posted in houses in town and along Weinbrenners Run on July 3rd. There is no evidence Colt revolvers were re-issued during the rest of the War.

Bill Skillman

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