Shooting Sports USA - July 2021 - 40

PAGE FROM HISTORY: AMERICAN RIFLEMAN
The Beginnings of Marine Corps Marksmanship
BY KENNETH L. SMITH-CHRISTMAS
D
uring the Civil War, the first Marine to
be awarded the Medal of Honor was
Cpl. John Mackie for his exploits during
the battle of Drewry's Bluff. He blazed away at
Confederate Marines on shore with his Springfield
musket while on an ironclad ship which
was running the gauntlet of the forts around
Richmond, Va. However, few other instances
can be found where Marine Corps marksmanship
with shoulder arms was at all noteworthy.
Prior to 1896, Marines who felt a need to
gain extra practice had to purchase their
own ammunition from the Quartermaster.
Commandant of the Marine Corps, Maj. Gen.
Charles Heywood's solution was to appoint
Maj. Charles Laucheimer as the Inspector of
Target Practice, and he then directed that the
Marine Corps improve in this field. Laucheimer
inaugurated the program by entering a rifle
team in a competition at Sea Girt, N.J., in 1901.
This was the Marine Corps' first shooting
match. Among his team members was a future
commandant, then Lt. Thomas Holcomb.
The Marines were firing the newly adopted
Krag-Jorgensen
.30-cal. rifle, which
had recently
Cpl. John F. Mackie was the first Marine to be awarded
the Medal of Honor during the Civil War for his valor at
the Battle of Drewry's Bluff, Va., in 1862. Mackie led his
Marines in maintaining a brisk fire against Confederate
Marines on shore, but they were not " sharpshooters. "
replaced the M1895 Lee Navy 6.5 mm
straight-pull rifle that was carried by Marines
during the Spanish-American War. The results
were disappointing. The Marines placed
sixth out of 11 competing teams, and their
final results were far below the winner, the
National Guard team from Washington, D.C.
Upon Heywood's retirement in 1903, he was
replaced by then-Brig. Gen. George F. Elliott,
an even more enthusiastic promoter of marksmanship.
Among historians, Elliott is credited
as being the father of the Marine Corps marksmanship
program. Drawing on the knowledge
and skill of civilian shooters, most notably
" Doc " Scott, a Maryland dentist, the skill of
Marines training at headquarters
in Washington, D.C., steadily
improved as did the abilities of
Marines stationed afloat
and ashore. *
40 JULY 2021 | SSUSA.ORG
PHOTOS COURTESY U.S. MARINE CORPS MUSEUM
https://www.americanrifleman.org/content/the-beginnings-of-marine-corps-marksmanship http://www.SSUSA.ORG

Shooting Sports USA - July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA - July 2021

Contents
Shooting Sports USA - July 2021 - Cover1
Shooting Sports USA - July 2021 - 2
Shooting Sports USA - July 2021 - 3
Shooting Sports USA - July 2021 - Contents
Shooting Sports USA - July 2021 - 5
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Shooting Sports USA - July 2021 - 40
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