A sniper tale from the War of 1812.
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One hundred twelve years ago this summer, our Uncle Samuel, then a youngster afflicted with growing pains, was having an argument with England, historically known as the War of 1812, but what really amounted to a continuation of the Revolutionary struggle and determined whether or not Sammy was to be able to walk alone without being continually bossed and spanked by the former parent country.
The warfare argument of that day had about the same end in view as the present one, to kill the other fellows in as large quantities and expeditiously as possible. However the methods in vogue were somewhat different from now and seem a bit crude in these days of gas, machine guns, air and submarine craft, long-range rifles, artillery, etc. It was the period of smooth-bore cannon and muskets of the regular or professional soldier, interspersed with the long black flintlock rifle of the pioneer settler turned soldier overnight. The actually firing range for the artillery usually was not much over five hundred yards, desirably closer if the guns could be properly protected from sudden rushes from the enemy. The rifleman had the call on the smooth-bore musket both for accuracy and range, but even he preferred to pot his adversary at not more than a hundred and fifty yards at most, and considered himself at home against the British regular, unless, as sometimes happened, the latter came in too numerous and too fast with his “Brown Bess” with the long bayonet attached, in which case it was apt to be a different story. There were, however, exceptions and stunts in that day as well as in ours, and it is one of these exceptions, as Harry Lauder says, that we are going to tell you about.