Union 1st Sharpshooters Regiment

  • American Civil War
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

Formed in the early days of The American Civil War (1861), by Colonel Hiram Berdan - he saw the need for a specialized crack shot Regiment of (that would in essence), become the first Sniper unit in the US Army. All recruits had to "Shot Test" to win a spot within one of the 4 Regiments. Each man had to place 10 aimed shots into a circular target some 200 yards away. They could used their own rifle and chose the best firing position needed. They also had to be able to accurately determine windage and shot trajectory. The 1st USSS were known for their distinctive all Green uniform with brown equipment. This was to better conceal them for the many long hours (often in trees), they would have to remain - waiting for the "perfect shot". The Regiments served in 12 major civil war battles.


They used a modified Sharps Repeater Rifle, Whitworth or even Berdan's own invention - The Berdan Rifle. His rifle was extremely heavy (at 30 pounds). He also innovated a "Sniper Scope", which greatly improved his men's accuracy. BY the end of the war however, The 1st USSS had replaced their Green uniforms for the more traditional Union Blues (which were easier to get). The Unit was mustered out in 1865. The Regiment earned 1 US Congressional Medal of Honor for action at The Battle of Malvern Hill. The 1st USSS would pave the way for the future of Sniper Units throughout The US Armed Forces.