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Co. L, 1st USSS/Co. L, 1st Minnesota

a.k.a. 2nd Company Minnesota Sharpshooters

First U.S. Sharpshooters
This company was raised for Berdan's Corps of U.S. Sharpshooters. It was recruited at St. Paul, Minn, between Nov. 23, 1861 and March 17, 1862. It's first Captain was William F. Russell. The copmany was mustered into service on March 20, 1862. The roster consisted of 100 enlisted men and 3 commissioned officers. All except five of teh men were from Minnesota. Four were from Wisconsin and the last being from Iowa.

The company arrived in Washington D.C. April 26, 1862, having left St. Paul 5 days before. By this time it had lost two men, one who deserted March 23 and one who was left sick at St. Paul. The company departed from Washington for the Peninsula May 3, 1862. They arrived the 5th at Yorktown and reported to General George B. McClellan, who preceded to order the company to report to Colonel Hiram Berdan, commander of the 1st Regiment USSS. On the 7th the company was presented to Col. Berdan at his headquarters in Camp Winfield Scott. It was here and then that the company recived part of it's equipage. They then fell in with the regiment on a march back to Yorktown.

The company recived thier arms, 1859 Sharp's New Model Breech-loading rifles, on May 8th. That evening they embarked for West Point, arriving the 9th and made camp. The recived thier first drill the 12th, being drilled by thier 1st Lieutenant, John A.W. Jones and Capt Edward Drew of Co. G, 1st USSS (from Wisconsin).

While in the service of the 1st USSS the company was known as Co. L. They participated in all marches, battles and movements of this regiment while in it's service. They recieved thier baptism of fire March 27th at Hanover Court House. The company lost two men wounded, one severely during the morning engagement. Following the battle one man, who was on a wood gathering detail, was captured by the rebels.

First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry
On May 30, 1862 the company recieved Special Order, No. 153. This order directed the company to report to General Sedgewick "to be assigned to duty with the First Minnesota Volunteers." In the evening of the 31st the company reached the camp of the 1st Minnesota Infantry. The 1st Minnesota; however, had departed the camp that morning for the fight at Seven Pines and Fair Oaks. The company remained at this camp until morning, June 1st, when then re-commenced thier march and met up with General Gorman, their new brigade commander. Gen. Gorman sent them into the action at Fair Oaks. They drove a group of rebel sharpshooters out of a piece of woods, taking four prisoners while doing so. Gorman mentioned them in his official report of the battle, "Just at the close of the action on the 1st inst. Captain Russel's company of Minnesota Sharpshooters arrived on the field, and I put them in before the enemy, where they used their weapons with effect and rendered good service."

Early on June 2, 1862 the company joined the 1st Minnesota at Fair Oaks. It was designated as Co. L. From the time that it joined the First Minnesota, until the regiment was disbanded Novemeber 23rd, 1863, the companies history mathces that of the 1st Minnesota.

The first man to die of the company died on July 6th, of disease. His vacancy was filled by a man who had come along with the company as the Captain's servent. His enlistment was the only addition to the roster during the companies service.

By December 31, 1862 there were only 25 men present for duty. Four men had been detailed on extra duty, and one man was sick, making a total of 30 men present. There was at the time however, seventy men on the company roll. Of the fourty men men not present thirty-two were sick, five were on detached duty, one ws absent with leave and two absent without leave. The thirty-one men missing from the original roster were listed as: twenty-two discharged, five died, two died of wounds received in battle and six deserted. Between AMy 27, 1862 and September 17, 1862 twentyfive enlisted men had been wounded, twenty of whom were wounded September 17, 1862 at the Battle of Antietam.

Second Company Minnesota Sharpshooters
On November 23, 1863 the company was detailed to the division Headquarters as Provost guard. The First Minnesota had left for their home state in February 1864 and was mustered out that April. In January 1864 there were only fourty-two men listed on the company roll, thirty present. They left winter quarters May 3, 1864 and fought wit thier division throughout the spring campaign. During this time they were engaged at the Wilderness, Spottsylvania Court House, Hanover Church and Cold Habour. They were also continuously on the march or on reconnaissances and skirmishing, until June 16, 1864, when the Seige of Petersburg started.

Three Privates were wounded at Cold Harbour, one severely. On June 22 one man was killed while detailed as a sharpshooter at Petersburg. The company fought at Deep Bottom and Ream's Station. During the latter battle the First Lieutentant, Louis Fittzsimmons, and nine enlsited men were captured. Later during the battle of Boydton Roads the cmopany distinguished itself, bringing in a large number of rebel prisoners.

The company was mustered out toward the end of January 1865. On August 31, 1864 there were only thirty men on the roll of the company. Eighteen of the men who's enlistments had run out by that time reenlisted. They, along with those men who's enlistments had not run out, where transfered to Companies A and C of the 1st Minnesota Battalion.


Total Enlisted Men.....................................101

Discharged for wounds or disease................42
Discharged to accept promotion.....................5
Discharged to enlist in the regular Army..........6
Transfered to other units...............................20

Missing in Action...........................................4
Killed in Action..............................................2
Died of Wounds received in Action................2
Died in a Rebel Prison....................................1
Died of Disease..............................................6

Deserted........................................................6

In addition 35 men were wounded and 21 had been prisoners of the rebels

Roster