Book Review: Sharpshooting in the Civil War

by
posted on September 7, 2010
20109791614-civilwarsharpshooter_fs.jpg

Major John L. Plaster’s “History of Sniping and Sharpshooting” is the foremost reference on the subject to date. In his review of the book Maj. Edward J. Land, Jr., USMC (Ret.), wrote, “Plaster’s first-hand knowledge of equipment and field craft combined with his extensive research has produced one of the most complete and detailed books on military sniping.”

The only downside to the 704-pp. book was its price of $89. With that in mind, the publisher asked Plaster to do a separate book encompassing the eight chapters of the massive volume into a more, compact (and affordable) reference concentrating just on Civil War sharpshooters. Plaster opens up with descriptions of sharpshooters of the Union and the Confederacy, their recruitment, organization and training. The author then covers the arms and the tactics employed, with emphasis on the description of the best known arms, heavy-barreled target guns, Enfields, Whitworths and Sharps, and other lesser-known arms. His technical description of the ammunition used and the early telescopic sights employed are excellent as well. In his final section, Plaster chronicles battlefield accomplishments of sharpshooters, blue and gray, starting with their role at Antietam and Fredericksburg, then continuing on with Gettysburg and one of the most vicious and deadly fights for sharpshooters, the battle for Vicksburg.

As with “The History of Sniping and Sharpshooting,” sidebars on various topics, from the first scope-sighted engagement in American history to a listing of prominent officers felled by sharpshooters, break up the main text. It is a must read for Civil War enthusiasts and those interested in the role of sharpshooters and their rifles during America’s bloodiest conflict.

The paperbound, 81/2x11-inch, 157-pp. book is extremely well-illustrated with black and white photographs, artwork and period engravings. The cost is $19 plus shipping, and it is available through: Paladin Press; (800) 392-2400; or http://www.ultimatesniper.com/.

Latest

DRD Tactical MFP 21
DRD Tactical MFP 21

New For 2022: DRD Tactical MFP-21

New for 2022, DRD Tactical releases the MFP-21, a large-format pistol chambered in either 5.56 mm NATO or .300 Blackout.

Rifleman Review: SIG Sauer P210

Watch this American Rifleman Television segment of "Rifleman Review" from 2020 to learn more about the SIG Sauer P210.

The Smith & Wesson SD VE Line

Introduced in 2012, the Smith & Wesson SD VE line of handguns are a popular budget-friendly option in the striker-fired, polymer-framed handgun market.

New For 2020: Shadow Systems CR920 Subcompact

New For 2022, Shadow Systems releases the CR920, a subcompact 9 mm pistol with ergonomics and a magazine capacity not far off from a full-size handgun.

New For 2022: Uberti 1873 Cattleman In 9mm Luger

Uberti's 1873 Cattleman single-action revolver is now available as one of three Single Action Army clones available in the popular 9mm Luger cartridge.

Preview: Clamtainer Ammo Buddy Rifleman Value Bundle

Clamtainer has simple organizational products that help make life more efficient. Whether you have a gun room that requires an update or are looking to eradicate mice from the ammunition closet, Clamtainer has a solution, and its Rifleman Value Bundle is one such answer.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.