Berdan Sharpshooter's "U.S. Infantry & Rifle Tactics" - Inventory Number: IDE 057
Complete Edition - Lieutenant William Elmendorf inscribes the handbook three times with full identification!
“Using a hollow tree for concealment was just one of the innovative tactics sharpshooters used in confronting each other. When one of Berdan’s men was mortally wounded, the colonel began surveying the enemy line and noticed on a low mound “a long way off” what appeared to be a crow coming into view periodically. Carefully examining the object with a field glass, Berdan watched as the “bird” would periodically appear and disappear. Pointing out the location to Lieutenant William Elmendorf, of Company B, Berdan ordered the lieutenant to take six men to put some holes through the object. Elmendorf’s party advanced under cover of darkness, dug a rifle pit and prepared for sunrise. When the crow emerged the next morning, a sharpshooter sent a bullet just under it, and “what was inside of it, must have stopped a bullet, as it was the last seen of it.”
Enlisted on 8/2/1861 as a Private at 25 years of age.
On 9/29/1861 he mustered into "B" Co.
US Volunteers 1st SharpShooters
He Resigned on 10/18/1862
* 2nd Lieut 4/1/1862
First U. S. Sharpshooters
Gettysburg after battle report:
Report of Col. Hiram Berdan, First U. S. Sharpshooters, commanding First and Second U. S. Sharpshooters.
Hdqrs. First U. S. Sharpshooters, July 29, 1863.
Capt.: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Sharpshooters at the battle near Gettysburg:
On the morning of July 2, I received instructions from the division commander to assume command of the First and Second Regt.'s
of Sharpshooters, and to report direct to division headquarters. In accordance with instructions received, I posted the Second Regt., Maj. Stoughton commanding, on our left, to act as flankers, and the First Regt. on our front. About 7.30 a. m. I received orders to send forward a detachment of 100 sharpshooters to discover, if possible, what the enemy was doing. I went out with the detail, and posted them on the crest of the hill beyond the Emmitsburg road, and where they kept up a constant fire nearly all day upon the enemy in the woods beyond until they were driven in, about 5 p. m., by a heavy force of the enemy, after having expended all their ammunition.
As it was impossible
with this force to proceed far enough to discover what was being done
by the enemy in the rear of this woods, I reported the fact
to Maj.-Gen. Birney, and about 11 a. m. I received an order
from him to send out another detachment of 100 sharpshooters
farther to the left of our lines, and to take the Third Maine Volunteers as
support, with directions to feel the enemy, and to discover their
movements, if possible.
I moved down the Emmitsburg road some distance beyond our extreme left and deployed the sharpshooters in a line running nearly
east and west, and moved forward in a northerly direction parallel with the Emmitsburg road. We soon came upon the enemy, and
drove them sufficiently to discover three columns in motion in rear of the woods, changing direction, as it were, by the right flank. We attacked them vigorously on the flank, and from our having come upon them very unexpectedly, and getting close upon them, we were enabled to do great execution, and threw them for a time into confusion.
They soon rallied, however, and attacked us, when, having accomplished the object of the reconnaissance, I withdrew under cover of the woods, bringing off most of our wounded, and reported about 2 o'clock to Maj.-Gen. Birney the result of our operations and discoveries.
The Second Regt. was
deployed in front of the Second Brigade by order of Gen.
Ward, and moved forward to a favorable position, where they held the
enemy's skirmishers in check and did good execution, breaking
the enemy's front line three times, and finally fell back as the
enemy advanced in heavy force, remaining in action with the remainder
of the brigade during the engagement.
The balance of the First Regt.,
under the immediate command of Capt. Baker, moved forward
to the right of the peach orchard, on the right of the First
Brigade, where they had a splendid chance for execution, the enemy
coming forward in heavy lines. I
relieved them from time to
time as they exhausted their ammunition.
On the 3d, a
detachment of about 100 sharpshooters was sent, under command of Capt.
Baker, as sharpshooters, to cover the front of the Sixth
Corps. They remained there all day,
constantly firing, and toward night
advanced, driving the enemy's skirmishers some distance, and
capturing 18 prisoners. The balance of
the command was moved toward the
right with the rest of the division, to the support of some batteries,
where nothing of importance occurred.
On the morning of the 4th, the Second Regt. was deployed in the field in front of our position on the 3d, and advanced, driving
the enemy's skirmishers to the edge of the woods, which position they held until relieved at 7.30 p. m. by a New Jersey regiment, having been under heavy picket firing all day.
The entire command, with very few exceptions, behaved most gallantly. I desire to make special mention of Col. Lakeman and Maj.
Lee, of the Third
Maine Regt., for their services on the reconnaissance, in which the Third
Maine was used as a support to the detachment of sharpshooters.
I desire to make special mention also of Capt. Nash, who rendered invaluable assistance in the reconnaissance referred to, and
gallantly; also of Maj. Stoughton and Capt. Baker, for their judgment
and skill in handling their troops under fire; also Lieut. Norton,
acting adjutant of the Second Regt., who displayed great
bravery, and who with a small squad captured and sent to the rear
22 prisoners on Thursday.
We went into action with about 450 rifles. During the three days, we expended 14,400 rounds of ammunition.
Our total loss was:
Officers and men. K. W. M. T.
Commissioned officers ................... 2 7 1 10
Enlisted men ............................ 10 52 17 79
Total* ............................. 12 59 18 89
I trust that the sharpshooters lost none of their reputation at Gettysburg.
Though operating in small detachments, and with other troops, and in such extensive engagements, their deeds may not have
been so conspicuous as on some former occasions where the whole force was used together.
I have the honor to be, captain, your obedient servant,
Col., Comdg. U. S. Sharpshooters.
Capt. F. Birney, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
Inventory Number: IDE 057