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New Osprey book on Sharpshooting Rifles of the American Civil War

Osprey Publishing has for several decades been a major resource for military wargamers, dioramists, miniaturists, and other hobbyists with its battle overviews, guides to uniforms, maps, and other useful information. Over time, the company has expanded its lineup to appeal to a broad range of history buffs with a wide series of different books covering a similar theme. Among these is their Weapon series, which focuses on specific categories of military arms — their development, use, and historical impact.

Weapon #56, written by Martin Pegler, covers Sharpshooting Rifles of the Civil War: Colt, Spencer, and Whitworth. Pegler is the Senior Curator of Firearms at the Roral Armories Museum in Leeds, UK, and the author of several other works on military small arms.

As with nearly all Osprey books, this one features a profusion of colorful illustrations, including line drawings, vintage photographs, modern artwork and renditions of soldiers in uniform using their weapons, and concise text.

Sharpshooters were the bane of the infantryman (and his officers) in several Civil War battles. Entire battalions or companies were formed in many brigades, and the Union even features whole regiments made up of specially selected marksmen (the green-clad 1st and 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters gained fame as Berdan’s Sharpshooters).

This is a typical page from Pegler’s new book, showing a rifle, its supporting equippage, types of projectiles, and how to load the gun.

Another page showing some of the typical illustrations and brief text.

Detail of one of the original artwork drawings that are the hallmark of this and nearly every Osprey volume.

This newly published softbound book sells for about $20 US on line and from Osprey. ISBN 978-1-4728-1591-0. More information can be found at