Skip Navigation

The Army of the Potomac--A Sharp-Shooter on Picket Duty

Winslow Homer

American Art

As a result of the development in the 1860s of a far more accurate telescopic rifle, sharpshooters were first used extensively in the Civil War. A contemporary account noted: “Some of those Yankee sharpshooters . . . had little telescopes on their rifles that would fetch a man up close until he seemed to be only 100 yards away from the muzzle. I’ve seen them pick a man off who was a mile away. They could hit so far you couldn’t hear the report of a gun. You wouldn’t have any idea anybody was in sight of you, and all of a sudden, with everything as silent as the grave and not a sound of a gun, here would come . . . one of those ‘forced’ balls and cut a hole clear through you.”
MEDIUM Wood engraving
DATES 1862
DIMENSIONS Sheet: 9 1/16 x 13 5/8 in. (23 x 34.6 cm) Frame: 16 3/4 x 22 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (42.5 x 57.8 x 3.8 cm)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Harvey Isbitts
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.