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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Mechanicsville in Hanover County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Deadly Work of Sharpshooters

Cold Harbor Battlefield Park Walking Trail

 
 
The Deadly Work of Sharpshooters Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bernard Fisher, February 15, 2009
1. The Deadly Work of Sharpshooters Marker
Inscription. Adding to the misery of the Union and Confederate soldiers at Cold Harbor was the fear of enemy sharpshooters. Quite often armed with special rifles these marksmen would prey on any unfortunate soldier who appeared in their sights. A Confederate officer described their tactics at Cold Harbor: “If one caught a glimpse of an enemy anywhere, he would sight carefully at that spot…if someone appeared, he had only to press his trigger.”

A soldier from the 15th New Jersey Infantry was killed in this vicinity when he reported to his colonel that he had completed digging a grave for one of his comrades. “Instantly a musket ball struck him in the face and he fell dying at our feet. He was laid in the grave he had dug. We widened it for two.”

While it was impossible to be certain how the pit before you was used, it is typical of the defensive positions that sharpshooter would employ in their deadly work. Others chose to climb tall trees to be able to spot enemy movements behind the main lines.
 
Erected by Hanover County Parks and Recreation, National Park Service.
 
Location. 37° 35.111′ N, 77° 16.727′ W. Marker is near Mechanicsville, Virginia, in Hanover County. Marker can be reached
The Deadly Work of Sharpshooters Marker behind a rifle pit. Photo, Click for full size
By Bernard Fisher, February 15, 2009
2. The Deadly Work of Sharpshooters Marker behind a rifle pit.
from Cold Harbor Road (State Highway 156) 0.2 miles east of Boatswain Lane, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. This marker is located along a one-mile trail in the 50-acre Cold Harbor Battlefield Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6005 Cold Harbor Road, Mechanicsville VA 23111, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Digging In (within shouting distance of this marker); A Well Preserved Union Artillery Position (within shouting distance of this marker); Misery In The Trenches (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Federal Artillery Battery (about 400 feet away); The Bloody Eighth (about 400 feet away); Scars of Conflict (about 500 feet away); Preparation For Battle (about 500 feet away); The Battle of Gaines’ Mill - 1862 (about 600 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Mechanicsville.
 
More about this marker. On the right is a sketch of a "Confederate sharpshooter targeting his Union victim. Civil War rifles were surprisingly accurate, and successful “hits” were not uncommon at 1,000 yards."
 
Also see . . .
1. Hanover County Parks and Recreation. Cold Harbor Battlefield Park (Submitted on February 17, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 

2. Richmond National Battlefield Park. Cold Harbor (Submitted on February 17, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 

3. CWSAC Battle Summary. Cold Harbor (Submitted on February 17, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 

4. Cold Harbor Battlefield Park Walking Trail. This marker is one along the walking trail around a portion of the Cold Harbor Battlefield preserved by Hanover County Parks and Recreation. (Submitted on February 17, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 876 times since then and 49 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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