A Shiloh Sniper, exhibited his innate Tennessee tenacity, during the Battle of Shiloh in April of 1862. The Armies of Union Brigadier General Prentiss and Confederate Brigadier General Ruggles held a death grip on each other’s forces at the “Hornet’s Nest.” The bloodbath continued for many hours, with the southern forces slowly gaining the advantage. A portion of the Union defenders were Eastern Tennessee volunteers and the individual tenacity and bravery of these soldiers held the line in good stead. The minies sang thick and heavy, with casualties, both blue and gray littering the field between the two foes.
A young Union Officer, on horseback, was observing the ebb and flow of the battle from a nearby ridgeline. As he scanned the two opposing lines with his glass, he spied a Tennessee Volunteer, on the left, sitting under a tree, alone, 300 yards from the main line and on a regular basis firing at the Confederate position. The officer rode towards the lone Shiloh Sniper and studied him more closely. The older trooper, probably, an aged 30 years, was thoroughly relaxed, his canteen and three cartridge boxes in the tall covering grass within easy reach, hat off, reclining steadily against the trunk of a shady old oak, he would take a bead on his target, breathe deeply and squeeze off a deadly load, take a drink of water, wipe his brow and reload the weapon, mumble to himself and prepare to fire again.
The Union officer approached the Shiloh Sniper, cautiously, from behind, mindful not to startle him. He called out, why aren’t you in line with the rest of your unit? The old Tennessee volunteer didn’t hear, didn’t care or just ignored the request and continued to reload and wreak havoc on the Confederate forces 300 yards away. Every blast from the snipers rifle bowled over another combatant across the way. The mounted officer finally lost all patience and yelled an order demanding an answer. The Tennessee elder never looked up from his task, but drawled,
Well, General, I came down here from Sevier County to do a job and I’m doing a lot better than my pards down in the hole, over yonder and I think I’ll just sit right here and help crush this confounded rebellion, so I can get home to my family.
The young officer rode off and let the old Tennessee volunteer do his job, knowing that the Shiloh Sniper and his Tennessee Tenacity could not be reasoned with.