Sharps Rifle Figures Prominently in The Civil War Stories

Fathers-in-law come to blows over the Civil War stories featuring the Sharps rifle.

Content Tools

Anne Luella Ledington was born May 26, 1878, to Elijah and Mary Ann Garrett Ledington at Onaga in Pottawatomie County, Kansas. Mary Ann's father was the Reverend Elder William Caldwell Garrett. He was a well-known and respected Baptist minister. He presided at the marriage of his daughter and Elijah. They were married after Elijah returned from serving in the Union Army during the Civil War.

Elijah's company was among the first to be issued the Sharps rifle, this and the Mississippi rifle were the most accurate guns available to the Union forces. The men who used the Sharps rifle were called "sharpshooters." Elijah was considered one of the best and was often sent out to scout or spy for the Army.

A story in family history was often told at family gatherings. Elijah's daughter, Anne, had married John A. Ross, and John's father and Elijah were "swapping war stories." Elijah told how in the Missouri campaign, he came upon a group of Confederate soldiers seated around a campfire. He enjoyed a good laugh when he shot a cup out of the hand of one of the Rebels. Jonathan Ross's response was, "1 was the one holding that cup." The situation almost became physical.

It is very probable that this did indeed happen since Elijah and Jonathan had opposed each other in several battles in the Missouri-Price campaign.

Althea Fifield Kendall
Pullman, Washington


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.