National Park Service Living History Programs Highlight Sharpshooters at Cold Harbor

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Date: August 5, 2009
Contact: Mike Andrus, 804 226-1981 x. 30

On Saturday, August 15, and Sunday, August 16, 2009, living history volunteers representing Confederate sharpshooters will present programs highlighting the sharpshooter at the battle of Cold Harbor. Volunteers will perform skirmish drills and rifle firing demonstrations illustrating the sharpshooters’ role on the battlefield. Camps will be open on Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and on Sunday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Demonstrations begin at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm both days followed by ranger-guided battlefield walking tours. The Cold Harbor battlefield is located at 5515 Anderson-Wright Drive, Mechanicsville, VA. All events are free.

Confederate sharpshooter battalions played a critical role in the Army of Northern Virginia by acting as light infantry trained as pickets, scouts and skirmishers. Often armed with special weapons, such as the extremely accurate Whitworth rifle, these units underwent rigorous training in marksmanship and skirmish drill. While in the trenches of Cold Harbor, with the two armies a few hundred yards apart, the sharpshooter practiced his deadly trade. During this time one Confederate described the sharpshooter as, "little better than a human tiger laying in wait for blood."



Last updated: February 26, 2015

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