...And Yet, Enough Has Somehow Just Been Said

Greyhawk features a beautiful quote in his long piece today.
Chester G. Hearn, in a recent history of Harper's Ferry in the Civil War, effectively summed one aspect of the battle with an observation that likely had to wait well over a century to be made: "With roughly eleven hundred men involved in a skirmish lasting four hours, where total casualties added up to five killed and twenty wounded, enough cannot be said about poor marksmanship."


E Hines said...

I hadn't heard it was that bad. Although the need for focus and care has not gotten less since. I recall in a USAF pre-deployment pistol marksmanship training class (yes, the USAF was given over to non sequitur; although they were correct that officers could only be trusted with side arms--the rifles went to the enlisted) being told of one case of such failure.

It seems that a lone gunmen in a short-range shootout with three sky cops killed all three. Each of the cops had emptied their pistols without a hit, while the gunman had fired only 5-6 shots from his.

The story had an air of apocrypha, though, as the instructor never did tell how the gunman was caught, given the number of surviving witnesses.

Eric Hines

Eric said...

That is nothing new. The French writer Mauvillion, commenting on the battle of Chotusitz in 1742, (between the Austrians and the Prussians) noted that the Austrians suffered about 4000 casualties. The Prussians were reported to have used up 250,000 cartridges. His comment was "If I have done my sums correctly, a great deal of Prussian shots seem to have gone astray."

douglas said...

How many men may well have not even fired a shot? WWII studies showed that less trained troops were susceptible to hesitance in engaging.