Pro-Union Marksmen, That Is
From The New-York Times June 2, 1861:
As will be seen from the following card, Mr. H. BERDEN, who has made the best rifle shot on record, so far as can be ascertained, has contented to take command of the Regiment of Sharp-Shooters, which is now organizing:
FIFTH-AVENUE HOTEL, NEW-YOKK, May 30, 1861.
To the Sharp-Shooters in the Loyal States:
GENTLEMEN: Many of you are undoubtedly aware that an effort is making to get up a regiment to be composed entirely of first-class rifle-shots at long distances, and that in consequence of my having myself done something in this way of rifle-shooting, suggestions have been made in the public press that I should aid in this effort. I am, moreover, receiving almost daily applications, by letter and in person, to the same effect, and I see so clearly the great importance of the object in view, that I do not feel at liberty to refrain from doing what I can to further it.
With this view I propose that all such gentlemen that have made themselves good shots at long distances, who are willing to place their skill in this way at the service of our country, in this her great struggle, should send their names to me, with an affidavit, showing the best shooting they have done at two hundred yards, or more.
As soon as the necessary arrangements are made for equipment, &c., notice will be given to all these whose applications are approved.
No application will be considered in which the average of ten consecutive shots exceeds five inches from centre of target to the centre of the ball at two hundred yards.
The prodigious efficiency of detachments of such Sharp-Shooters, armed with our Northern Patent Target Rifles, needs only to be alluded to to be recognized at once by all who have any knowledge of this subject.
Need I add one word to enforce the duty of our amateur target-shots to make their peculiar skill useful to our country at this time of trial? That skill — the offspring of a manly Northern sport — can be converted into a powerful military instrument so readily, I feel confident the subject need only to be suggested to insure its being fully and promptly attended to.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
The Spirit of the Times, a few days ago, published a record of forty of the best shots which have been made in this country, and it is a remarkable fact that but one of these was credited to a resident of the Slave States; thus demonstrating that in rifle shooting the North is superior to the South.
A Regiment such as is now organizing, could do immense service in the field. The main difficulty in the way of filling it immediately is the trouble and expense of gathering the best shots from the different towns and cities through the country where they reside. Money is needed, not only for the equipment of the Regiment, but for the collection of it. Those who feel disposed to aid in this patriotic movement will be able to learn all the particulars of it from Mr. BERDAN
In addition to being a “world renowned marksman” Hiram Berdan invented many weapons.
You can see the green uniform of the Sharpshooters at the Smithsonian.
Capt. C. A. Stevens wrote Berdan’s United States sharpshooters in the Army of the Potomac, 1861-1865 (1892).
The Spirit of the Times was a magazine for sportsmen.