Berdan's Sharpshooters

Berdan's Sharpshooters (HM793)

Location: Newport News, VA 23608
Country: United States of America

N 37° 10.829', W 76° 32.223'

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1862 Peninsula Campaign

From this rifle pit, Colonel Hiram Berdan's 1st U.S. Sharpshooters targeted Confederate troops on the opposite bank of the Warwick River. Hiram Berdan, considered the nation's best marksman, organized the regiment from hand-picked volunteers who placed ten consecutive shots in a 10-inch circle at 200 yards. The Sharpshooters wore green uniforms for camouflage, and some of the men carried their own target rifles with telescopic sights.

Berdan's Sharpshooters served as skirmishers in the advance up the Virginia Peninsula. Furthermore, the men became adept snipers during the siege of the Warwick-Yorktown line. Lieutenant David F. Ritchie of the 1st New York Light Artillery noted their effect, "Our sharpshooters have become a terror to the enemy, though this lying in wait and picking off men singly is after all a barbarous method of warefare."

Confederate Major Robert Stiles shared Ritchie's opinion stating, "The regular sharpshooters often seem to me little better than a human tiger lying in wait for blood." After the Peninsula Campaign, Berdan's Sharpshooters served with distinction until disbanding in February 1865. Purportedly, they inflicted the most casualties of any Union regiment.
HM NumberHM793
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 25th, 2014 at 8:48pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 363558 N 4116000
Decimal Degrees37.18048333, -76.53705000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 10.829', W 76° 32.223'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 10' 49.74" N, 76° 32' 13.38" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)757, 301
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 10001 Constitution Way, Newport News VA 23608, US
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