Friday, June 14, 2019

Booknotes: Union Sharpshooter Versus Confederate Sharpshooter

New Arrival:
Union Sharpshooter Versus Confederate Sharpshooter: American Civil War 1861–65 by Gary Yee (Osprey, 2019).

Part of Osprey's Combat series, Gary Yee's Union Sharpshooter Versus Confederate Sharpshooter "assesses the fighting techniques, armament, and combat record of the Union and Confederate sharpshooters who clashed in battles and sieges throughout the American Civil War." 

More from the description: "During the American Civil War, the Union and the Confederacy both fielded units of sharpshooters. Sometimes equipped with firearms no better than those of their infantry brethren, they fought in a manner reminiscent of Napoleonic-era light infantry. Siege warfare placed a premium on marksmanship and the sharpshooter became indispensable as they could drive artillerymen from their guns. They could also become expert scouts and, for the Confederacy, impressive raiders--one raid netted almost 250 prisoners. Initially, Union marksmen enjoyed the upper hand, but as the Confederates began raising and training their own sharpshooters, they proved themselves as worthy opponents."

Among its other features, the book presents three case studies that explore "the role played by sharpshooters in three bloody clashes at the height of the American Civil War--the battle of Fredericksburg, the siege of Vicksburg, and the siege of Battery Wagner." The book contains the dense collection of photographs, illustrations, maps, and original artwork that those familiar with Osprey titles of all types know and come to expect.

A trained gunsmith with a background in institutional firearms curation, Yee has considerable knowledge of the subject matter at hand. Though I haven't read it (I recall my review copy request being ignored, but I don't hold grudges!), I believe his 2009 book Sharpshooters 1750-1900: The Men, Their Guns, Their Story is pretty well regarded.

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