The target or sharp-shooting drill was much the most complicated and difficult, as the troops were taught to fire when kneeling and lying on the ground, and to avail themselves of the slightest favoring circumstances of the soil. The rules and methods adopted in this branch of the drill have been the subject of profound and careful study, and are exceedingly ingenious.
They manoeuvred in line, like all other infantry battalions, but, in addition to the ordinary drill, were trained in gymnastics and double-quick evolutions, as well as in fencing with the bayonet, a special course of sharp-shooting, and what was termed the new Tirailleur drill.
"It was now getting dark, and the Johnnies concluded they had taken a bigger contract in trying to drive us off that hill in one day than they had counted on, so they quit charging on us, but drew back under cover of the woods and along the old line of works that we had left, and kept up a pecking away and sharp-shooting at us all night long.
His arm was amputated and he died in a few days. Thus ended the career of one of Cleveland County's bravest boys that did battle for that cause. A battalion of picked men was being organized for him to do all the sharp-shooting and skirmishing for the brigade. Our company, H, had not deployed, and one over half was shot down.
Facing Campbell were the British regulars, who sprang to their arms and charged his men with fixed bayonets, forcing the riflemen, who had no bayonets, to recoil. But they were soon rallied by their gallant leader, and returned eagerly to the attack. For ten or fifteen minutes a fierce and bloody battle was kept up at this point, the sharp-shooting woodsmen making havoc in the ranks of the foe.
With the second day's proceedings the interest of delegates and spectators was visibly increased, first by some sharp-shooting speeches about credentials, and secondly by the main event of the day the report from the platform committee. Much difficulty was expected on this score, but a little time had smoothed the way with almost magical effect.
It's an age of Specialties. Suppose you take up signaling, or sharp-shooting if you prefer it, and I can learn wireless telegraphy. And maybe Betty will take the flying course, because we ought to have an Aviator and she is afraid of nothing, besides having an uncle who is thinking of buying an Aeroplane." "What else would you sugest?" I said freezingly.
What can such panting, unsteadied men do in conflict with Boers who are fresh and in well-preserved form, and whose steady sharp-shooting simply results in Calvaries for their opponents, however brave, disciplined and well equipped they may be? Yet to be noted is the small commissariat needed for Boer horses and mules.
No matter how perfect the gun, men, in the heat and excitement of battle, will hardly be deliberate in aim, or effective enough in firing to stop a charge of determined men; the bayonet, with the most of mankind, will always be the queen of weapons in a pitched battle; only for skirmishing, for sharp-shooting, and artillery, will the rifle equal theoretical expectations.
These, after having been thoroughly instructed in the manufacture of small arms, the preparation of munitions, and the rules and practice of sharp-shooting, were sent to St. Omer to furnish the new battalions with the officers who were to form part of the permanent organization.