Sunday, July 09, 2006

Camp Olden in Hamilton

The "Camp Olden" Civil War reenactment was staged in Hamilton on July 8 and July 9, 2006.

One of the presentations was on sharpshooters in the Civil War. The role of Union sharpshooters in the fight for Little Round Top was mentioned.

One can find a discussion on the internet:

"Suddenly," said Chamberlain, "to our mutual surprise, two scores of rifle barrels gleam over the rocks, and a murderous volley was poured in upon them at close quarters." Captain Morrill’s lost Company B and Staughton’s wandering Sharpshooters [2nd U.S. Berdan's Sharpshooters] rose up out of their hiding place, and with a shout they too charged into the Confederate flank, making such a commotion that the Rebels thought they were a whole regiment. Oates described the situation: "My position rapidly became untenable. The Federal infantry were reported to be coming down on my right and certainly were closing in on my rear." He ordered his staff officers to "return to your companies; we will sell out as dearly as possible."

One of the points of Carhart's book on Custer/Stuart was that Lee omitted details of Stuart's failure on July 3 at the East Cavalry Field in order to protect Stuart's reputation. Oates, Chamberlain's Confederate opponent on Little Round Top, was not so fortunate:

Perhaps because of his showing at Gettysburg, Oates was never officially confirmed a colonel by the Confederate Congress. Instead, his command was taken over by another officer in the regiment, Major Alexander A. Lowther, who managed to formally receive his colonelcy ahead of Oates. Reduced to major, Oates was transferred to the 48th Georgia Regiment, and while leading it he was shot in the right arm in June 1864 during the Wilderness Campaign.

Separately, I had an interesting discussion with "James Longstreet" about the use of Spencer repeating rifles.

The patent on the Spencer repeating rifle was issued March 6, 1860. One of the problems confronting Spencer was the concern of the War Department that soldiers would shoot "too fast" and re-supply of ammunition would be an issue.

The patent includes the text: "My invention consists of an improved mode of locking the movable breech of a breech-loading firearm whereby it is easily opened and closed and very firmly secured in place during the explosion of the charge. It also consists of certain contrivances for operating in combination with a movable breech for the purpose of withdrawing the cases of the exploded cartridges from the chamber of the barrel and for conducting new cartridges thereinto from a magazine located in the stock."

A cartridge box was invented by Blakeslee to carry Spencer ammunition and hasten reloading. It held seven tubes of seven cartridges each to quickly slide one tube at a time into the gun.


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