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[207]

‘To do and dare, and die at need’ These sharpshooters, prone beside the mossy boulders and scrub trees of ‘Devil's Den’ are among the most daring of those who fought at Gettysburg. They have paid the penalty so often attending such duty. At the beginning of the war it was argued that individual and unattached riflemen should be regarded as murderers and shot if captured; but this was never done, since sharpshooters came to play an important part on both sides. In the Confederate ranks they were men from Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas—men whose outdoor life made them experts with the rifle. Seeing the value of such a force, the Federals early organized a regiment of sharpshooters, enlisting men from each of the Federal States. These brought their own rifles, and most of them could snuff out a candle at a hundred yards. Often far in advance of the line, the sharpshooters chose their own positions, sometimes climbing into trees and lashing themselves to the branches to avoid a fall in case they should be wounded. Thousands paid the price of their daring.

 

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