John W. “Jack” Hinson, “Old Jack” was a farmer in Stewart County, Tennessee, who operated as a Confederate partisan sniper in the Between-the-Rivers region of Tennessee and Kentucky during the American Civil War.
His sons, brothers John and George Hinson, had been connected to spying, Ignoring their vows of innocence, the Federals tied his two sons to trees, shot them, decapitated them with a sword, and placed their heads on the gateposts in front of the Hinson homestead.
Upon learning of his sons’ fates, John “Jack” Hinson devised a plan for vengeance. In the spring of 1863, Hinson ambushed and killed the man responsible for issuing the order to murder his sons and the sergeant responsible for placing their heads on the gateposts.
When Federal troops burned the Hinson home, he found his gun and went back to work.
From a ridge overlooking the Tennessee River, Hinson sniped Federal officers on the decks of ships struggling to power through the surging currents of the Towhead Chute. With each kill, Hinson made a mark on the gun, and by the end of the war, it totaled 36 kills.
Historians estimate the total number of kills to be even higher than this, totaling between 80 and 100 kills.
A Confederate sniper, he made history after single-handedly bringing down an armed Union transport and serving as a scout for Nathan Bedford Forrest. A tenacious and elusive figure, Jack Hinson likely killed more than one hundred Union soldiers, recording the confirmed deaths on the barrel of his rifle with precision.
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