| American History Stories, Volume IV|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Stories of the great conflict from the time Lincoln became president and the southern states seceded, through the battles of Bull Run, Shiloh, Antietam, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, until the close of the war. Includes poems, songs, and illustrations commemorating the events. Ages 8-12 |
Do you remember the sharp-shooters who came into
Washington's camp during the Revolution? Do you
remember how they used to amuse themselves while they were
encamped outside of Boston, by shooting at targets just for
Well, there were sharp-shooters in the Civil War, too,
both among the Unionists and among the Confederates.
Their business was to be always on the watch when the
 armies were encamped near each other; and, if one of the
enemy showed himself anywhere in sight, to shoot at him.
John D. Champlain, who has lately written a history of
this war for young folks, tells this story of sharp-shooting:
"One of the most skilful of the Confederate marksmen
was a large negro, who used to perch himself in a tree and
lie there all day, firing whenever he saw a chance for a good
shot. He had in this way killed several Union soldiers,
and the sharp-shooters had watched a long time for him. At
last the Union trenches, which were gradually being dug
nearer and nearer, reached a place only about twenty rods
from the tree. One morning the darky came out early
and took his accustomed place in the tree. The sharp-shooters
might have easily killed him as he came out, but
they did not want to frighten others who were coming. He
was followed soon by several Confederate pickets, on whom
the men fired, killing some and driving the others back.
The darky, of course, was now "in a fix", or, in other
words, was "up a tree," for he could not get back without
running the risk of being shot.
"I say, big nigger," called out one of the Union
marksmen from the trenches, "you'd better come down from there."
"What for?" he asked.
"I want you as a prisoner."
"Not as this chile knows of," he answered.
 "All right. Just as you say," called out the marksman.
In about an hour Mr. Darkey, hearing nothing from in
front of his tree, concluded that it was safe to take just one
peep; so he poked his head out far enough to get a look at
the Union lines. But the sharp-shooter had not taken his
eye from the tree for an instant, and no sooner did the head
appear than he pulled the trigger of his rifle. A little puff
of blue smoke—a flash—the whiz of a bullet—and down
came the negro to the ground shot through the head.
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