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The Iron Brigade is one of the most celebrated military organizations of the American Civil War. Although primarily known and studied because of its remarkable stand on the first bloody day at Gettysburg, its stellar service during the earliest days of the war and from the Wilderness to Appomattox has been routinely slighted. Herdegen has finally rectified this historical anomaly with his The Iron Brigade in Civil War and Memory. Composed originally of the 2nd, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, and Battery B of the 4th U.S. Artillery, the brigade first attracted attention as the only all-Western organization serving in the Eastern Theater. The Regular Army's distinctive felt dress hat earned them the nickname "Black Hat Brigade." The Westerners took part in the fighting at Gainesville (Brawner's Farm), Second Bull Run, South Mountain (where General McClellan claimed he gave them their famous "Iron Brigade" moniker), and Antietam. Reinforced by the 24th Michigan, the Black Hats fought at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. But it was at Gettysburg on July 1 where the brigade immortalized a railroad cut and helped save the high ground west of town that proved decisive, but was nearly destroyed for its brave stand. Reorganizations, expired enlistments, and different duties split up the famous outfit, but some of the regiments fought on through the Wilderness to Petersburg and finally, Appomattox. Only when the war was ended did the Western boys finally go home.
Herdegen's magnificent The Iron Brigade in Civil War and Memory, sure to be looked upon as his magnum opus, is based on decades of archival research and includes scores of previously unpublished letters, photos, journals, and other primary accounts. This well researched and written tour de force, which includes reunion and memorial coverage until the final expiration of the last surviving member, will be the last word on the Iron Brigade for the foreseeable future.
- 696 pages
- Originally $39.95, The Wisconsin Veterans Museum is selling this title for a special price of $29.99; 25% off!
Lecture from February 28, 2013
Over one hundred fifty years after it began, the Civil War still fascinates us - the vast armies marching to war, iconic leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee, the drama of a nation divided. But the Civil War was also about individuals, the hundreds of thousands of ordinary men and boys who fought and died on either side and the families and friends left at home.
"This Wicked Rebellion: Wisconsin Civil War Soldiers Write Home" tells this other side of the story. Drawing from more than 11,000 letters in the Wisconsin Historical Society's Civil War collection, it gives a unique and intimate glimpse of the men and women who took part in the War for the Union. Follow Wisconsin soldiers as they sign up or get drafted, endure drill and picket duty, and get their first experiences of battle. Join them as they fight desperation and fear, encounter the brutality of slavery, and struggle with the reasons for war.
From impressions of army life and the South to the hardships of disease and battle, these letters tell the story of the war through the eyes and pens of those who fought in it. "This Wicked Rebellion" brings to life the heroism and heartache, mayhem and misery of the Civil War and the powerful role Wisconsin played in it.