The Shot Heard 'Round Dixie

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by Kevin Southwick

One of the good things about the information revolution is that we can easily read about the bad things "our" government does. But don't you get tired of hearing about federal agents kicking in doors, seizing gun shops, burning up innocent men, women and children?

Well, how about this: a very high-ranking federal agent was dropped at 1200 yards.

Now before you FBI types (Come on, I know y'all read!) kick in my door, shoot my dog, and put guns to the heads of me, my wife, my kids, and my cat, let me tell you when this happened. Ouch! You can let me up now.

May 9, 1864. Spotsylvania, Virginia. It was during the War Against Southern Independence. The enemy was advancing… (As this article was not edited by revisionist Yankees in New York publishing houses, the term "enemy" shall hereinafter refer to the US government which attacked, conquered, and still occupies Dixie.)

As I was saying, the enemy was advancing toward the Spotsylvania courthouse. Enemy General Sedgwick (no "wick" relation to me, I hope) was prowling the front lines, chiding some of his infantrymen his men for ducking sniper fire. "Why, my man," he chuckled, "I am ashamed of you, dodging that way. They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance." Then his chief of staff, Martin T. McMahon, who was speaking to him, heard another shrill whistling sniper bullet and then noticed blood pouring from a hole in the general's cheek. That was the end of General Sedgwick.

Seems the sharpshooter, from 1200 yards – not feet! – dropped the general like a varmint. Imagine the shooter's glee when, after wiping the black powder off his face and waving away the cloud, saw his target on the ground. Must have been some Rebel yells around the campfire that evening.

Now, you ask, how did that shot get off? Nineteenth-century black powder rifle hitting somebody at 1200 yards? Bull!

Well, meet the Whitworth rifle. An odd British piece, it had a .45 caliber rifled, octagonal bore firing an octagonal projectile which has a far longer range than round ball rifles. Accurate up to 1800 yards. Hey, General Sedgwick, that's 5400 feet, more than one mile! It was often used with a scope. Rebels loved it. If there had been an ATF back then, this gun would have been illegal.

Sniping, along with guerrilla warfare, was the sort of strategy that desperate Confederate soldiers wanted to use against the enemy invaders at the end of the war. However, General Robert E. Lee, even in the face of the horrible "total war" kill-everybody-burn-everything strategy of Lincoln and his generals, said no. So the war ended, and the rest is history as New York publishers and US government-paid "historians" would like you to know it. But I wonder if the sniper who dropped General Sedgwick lived to tell this story to his grandkids. Just think, all that underground history coming to life on the Internet.

While you're reading your copy of 101 Things to do u2018Til the Revolution, remember that the Vietnamese people staved off a superpower with rusty bolt action rifles and booby traps. No matter what conventional military weaponry is used against a people, if the citizenry has enough guns in their broom closets – even a few muzzle-loading Whitworths – the people will prevail in the defense of their homeland.

But as the pen is mightier than the sword, the Internet is worth a bag of sniper rifles. Notice, for example, that you never heard of a Whitworth rifle, the fate of Sedgwick, or maybe even Yankee invaders correctly identified as "the enemy" before reading this article. Web pages like are hitting the truth from miles away, right between the eyes. I just love this story. It's an incredible information – and propaganda-busting – revolution. It's Gutenberg II. Put your fingers on your keyboard. Fire at will!

So, go celebrate the end of General Sedgwick. Buy a Whitworth and hang it over your mantle, just above the words, Deo Vindice, which should be etched there. Meanwhile, keep your powder dry and your computer on.

August 28, 2001

Kevin Southwick [send him mail] owns an export-import firm in occupied Houston, Texas. He owns an assault BB gun and a laptop computer.

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