The Union Army’s green riflemen at war
The important role of sharpshooters on the battlefield had been recognised by armies since the time when firearms were developed with a greater degree of accuracy. This key factor combined with a soldier of higher intelligence, capable of independent thought and action and skilful in the use of his weapons, made for a highly effective light infantryman, skirmisher and scout. Green was often their uniform colour irrespective of the nation they served, for it referenced the ‘hunter’ from whose origin their service developed in spirit and action. In the British Army the 60th and 95th (Rifles) became famous during the Napoleonic Wars, though the senior regiment, the 60th, had grown from the Royal Americans who had proved their mettle on a battlefield where the skills of this kind of infantryman were entirely applicable—the French and Indian War. Warfare in the great North Eastern forests of America brought forth many green clad riflemen and those raised in the cause of the Union by the state of Vermont were among its most notable. With their distinctive uniforms, high leather leggings and hair covered knapsacks they were the very epitome of their forebears, the Jaegers. This immediate account takes the reader on campaign throughout the Civil War on the Peninsular Campaign, at Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor and Petersburg.