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United States Sharpshooters


"As it was the province of the sharp shooter to shoot some body, it was necessary that he should be placed where there was some one to shoot." -- Vermont Riflemen

Company F, First U. S. Sharpshooters,

Lieutenant-Colonel: William Y. W. Ripley

Captains: Edmund Weston, Jr. / Charles W. Seaton / E. Witsey Hindes / Charles D. Merriman.

Co. F, 1st U. S. Sharpshooters was organized at West Randolph, Sept. 13, 1861. The following day it left the state for the regimental rendezvous at Weehawken, N.J., and a few days later went with the regiment to Washington, where it was mustered into the U. S. service for three years. It had left Vermont with 3 officers and 113 men, but when mustered, its number was reduced to the service requirement of 100 men. Lieut.-Col. Ripley commanded the regiment until disabled by wounds. The regiment was encamped near Washington until March 22, 1862, when it was assigned to Gen. Porter's division and participated in the Peninsular campaign, Co. F losing 11 killed and wounded. It was then attached to Morell's division of the 5th corps and was active at Bull Run, losing several men. At Blackford's ford, W. Va., Co. F captured 2 guns and several prisoners. At Gettysburg the sharpshooters were actively engaged at various points on the line, serving with the 3d corps. Co. F led the advance of the 3d corps at Kelly's ford Nov. 7, 1863, when 406 of the enemy were surprised and captured. It was again heavily engaged at Locust Grove, during the Mine Run cam- paign. In the spring of 1864, the sharpshooters were attached to the 2nd brigade, 3d division, 2nd corps, and had an active part in the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, and those around Petersburg. After the battle of Cold Harbor Co. F had only 15 men left of the 43 who crossed the Rapidan on May 4. Its term expired Sept. 12, 1864, when it had but 25 men of the original members. Nineteen of these were honorably discharged and 6 reenlisted. On Dec. 23, 1864, the small remnant of veterans and recruits was transferred to Co. E, 2nd U. S. sharpshooters. Co. F participated in 37 important battles and skirmishes, besides numerous minor engagements.

Its total enrolment was 190, of whom 30 were killed or died of wounds, 13 died of disease 2 died in prison, 7 were captured, 6 deserted and 50 were wounded.

Company E, Second U. S. Sharpshooters.

Colonel: Homer R. Stoughton

Captains: Homer R. Stoughton / Francis D. Sweetser / Seymour F. Norton.

The 2nd company of Vermont sharpshooters, designated as Co. E, 2nd U. S. sharpshooters, was recruited by Homer R. Stoughton, of West Randolph, Vt. The conditions for enlistment required that each recruit must, in a public trial, shooting from the shoulder without telescopic sights, put 10 successive bullets into a l0-inch ring, 300 yards distant. The uniform of the sharpshooters was distinctive, being of green cloth to match the green of nature, with leather leggings and knapsacks tanned with the hair on. Co. E was mustered into the U. S. service Nov. 9, 1861, with 91 officers and men, and left the state on Nov. 21 for Washington, where it joined the 2nd U. S. sharpshooters. It remained in camp of instruction until March 18, 1862, when its regiment was assigned to the 1st brigade, ist division, ist corps, under Gen. McDowell. It fired its first shot at Falmouth April 17, 1862, and had its first man killed at the second battle of Bull run, Aug. 30. From its first important engagement at Rappahannock Station in Aug., 1862, to that of Hatcher's run in Feb., 1865, it was present in no less than 27 important engagements and skirmishes, besides a number of minor engagements. During the year 1862, out of 145 officers and men on its rolls, 2 were killed in action, 5 died of disease, 43 were discharged for wounds or disability, 6 deserted, 3 were transferred, and i was promoted out of the company, leaving 84 officers and men. In 1863, despite the hard service at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and during the Mine Run campaign, its losses were not great. One died of disease, 2 were wounded, 6 captured, 15 discharged for wounds or disability and 4 transferred, leaving 64 officers and men. In the severe campaign of 1864, which began at the Wilderness, the company was engaged in 11 pitched battles. On Dec. 23, 1864, it was joined by 32 men from Co. F, and on Feb. 25, 1865, the 2nd regiment of sharpshooters was so badly reduced in numbers, the original members, except veterans and recruits, having been mustered out of service on Nov. 9, 1864, it was transferred to the 4th Vt. infantry as Co. G.

The total enrolment of the company, including 116 recruits, was 207, of whom 22 were killed in action or mortally wounded, 14 died by disease and accident, 3 died in prison, 7 deserted, 8 were captured and 57 were wounded.

Company H, Second U. S. Sharpshooters.

Captains: Gilbert Hart / Albert Buxton / William Newell / William H. Churchill / Walter W. Smith.

This company, the third and last company raised in Vermont for this arm of the service, was recruited during the months of Nov. and Dec, 1861, rendezvoused at Brattleboro and was mustered into the U. S. service for three years, Dec. 31, 1861. The same day it left the state for Washington, and on its arrival there became Co. H, of the 2nd U. S. sharpshooters. An epidemic of measles made it necessary to leave behind a large number of men who rejoined the command at Washington the following February. On March 19, 1862, it took the field, the regiment having been assigned to Augur's brigade (ist), King's division (ist), ist corps, commanded by Gen. McDowell. Most of the summer was spent at Falmouth, Va., though the command shared in the various movements of McDowell's corps towards Rich- mond and afterwards towards Front Royal in the effort to cut off the retreat of Stonewall Jackson up the Shenandoah Valley. It also shared in the campaign of Pope, being engaged at Rappahannock Station, Sulphur springs, Groveton and the second Bull Run. In September, as part of Hooker's corps of the Army of the Potomac, it was active at Turner's gap and Antietam, losing a number of men, and Co. H was again active at Fredericksburg, but met with only slight loss. On June 16, 1862, it was armed with the Sharp breech-loading rifle instead of the unpopular Colt's rifle. At Chancellorsville, the company lost 3 wounded, and during the remainder of 1863, was engaged at Gettysburg, Wapping heights. Auburn, Kelly's ford. Brandy Station, Orange Grove, and Mine Run, besides numerous minor skirmishes. The winter of 1863-64 was spent at Brandy Sta- tion, where on Dec. 21, nearly all the members reenlisted and received the usual veteran furlough. In Feb., 1864, when the veterans returned, the ranks had been swelled by recruits and the company again numbered 100 men. On the opening of the bloody campaign of 1864, the 2nd sharpshooters were assigned to the ist brigade, 3d division, 2nd corps, under Gen. Hancock. Co. H lost at the Wilderness 8 killed, 16 wounded and 2 missing, among the mortally wounded being the gallant Capt. Buxton. It was active in the engagements at the Po river, Spottsylvania, North Anna, Totopotomoy, Cold Harbor, Peters- burg, Deep Bottom, the capture of Fort Hell on the Jerusalem plank road, Boydton plank road, and the Weldon railroad. During the winter of 1864-65, the company's ranks were swelled by 17 recruits from Co. F, 1st U. S. sharpshooters, whose organization was discontinued. Their last skirmish as sharpshooters was at Hatcher's Run, Feb. 5-7, 1865, and on the 25th the sharpshooters were disbanded, Co. H retaining its letter, became a part of the 4th Vt. infantry and with this organization was engaged at Fort Fisher, in the final assault on Petersburg, and in the pursuit of Lee to Appomattox.

The total enrolment of the company was 191, of whom 18 were killed or mortally wounded, 19 died of disease, 3 in prison, 6 men deserted, 7 were captured and 44 were wounded.