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CAMP OF THE VERMONT REGIMENT,
NEWPORT NEWS, WITH STOCKADE AND
EMBANKMENT.—SKETCHED BY SURGEON SANFORD.—[SEE
made by the pirates, as they believed "discretion to be the better part of
valor." The crew were then all taken prisoners and brought on board, from whence
they were transferred to the
Minnesota, lying off
Charleston bar. A prize crew of seven was then
detailed for the privateer, and she was sent on to this city under charge of the
Master's Mate, M'Cook.
RIFLE PIT FOR SENTINELS.
ONE of our artists sends us the
sketch on page 413, with the following by way of explanation :
The practice of shooting down sentries has been denounced by all civilized
nations as ultra barbarism even
strong outposts remain undisturbed by enemies in war,
on the humane and soldierly principle that such insignificant
atoms of armies, tied, as it were, to their posts by the necessities of
their position, serve no other end but useless
murder by their destruction : hence the sentry is nearly as
safe as the embassador. But an organized band of murderers, we hear, well
acquainted with every cow-path and
covert approach between Fairfax Court House and Alexandria, propose to
shoot our men, Indian fashion, in detail.
And under our present system of placing sentries, I confess,
a crawling coward has the advantage of his upright foe. No cover can screen him
from the assassin's bullet, no random fire avenge him, under existing
practice in our service, especially
at night. But I wish to draw your attention
to a very simple plan to circumvent the prowlers, which the writer has
seen practiced with complete success,
and which I endeavor to illustrate in this night picture. If you place a sentry
on an open plain he is a fair mark
from the nearest rock or coppice; if near such rascals, or in a wood, he is sure
to perish; but place him in a pit
(the work of a few spades for half an hour) deep enough to involve him to
the chin, and I will answer for his safety and efficiency!
I do not mean a common rifle pit, for there the earth taken
out is thrown up toward your foe, and your eye is consequently some
distance above the level of the earth. Nor do
a trou-de-loup to entrap an
incautious foe. But a simple pit, in shape like the letter T, of any size
as to space, but about five
feet in depth, and the removed earth either
taken away or carefully distributed so as not to interfere with the surrounding
The effect of position, indeed the science of seeing, is very little understood;
and this is one result. A kind of
haze appears to ascend from the earth, spreading around
every object on its surface an indescribable glow, and the darker the
tree-tops the more perfect the luminousness.
But the eye must be on a level with the earth, and some
time accustomed to the natural darkness, as in the case of sentries.
I should be glad if our soldiers, who have to civilize the chivalry, would give
this fact a fair chance; it would save some valuable lives to the patriots, and
be a mysterious stronghold against any number of assassins.
The best riflemen in Europe, the Sardinian Bersaglieri, have adopted this plan,
and actually "go to earth"
even on a reconnoissance, as at Kamarg and Baidar.
I have tried to give you a night view of the pit and its
occupant, the ground in front, and a dark forest in the distance, with
the luminous effect surrounding the crawling figure near the tree on the left of
the sentry, without any attempt at making an effective picture, and with only
enough of exaggerations to define my recollection. I know
you will give the suggestion a place in your valuable newspaper.
CAMP OF FIRST REGIMENT NEW YORK VOLUNTEERS,
COLONEL ALLEN, NEAR FORTRESS
SKETCHED BY OUR SPECIAL ARTIST.-[SEE