The Iron Brigade
A Military HistoryBook - 1994
This is the story of the most famous unit in the Union Army. Originally called the "Black Hat Brigade" because soldiers wore the army's regular dress black hat instead of the more typical blue cap, the Iron Brigade was the only all-Western brigade in the Eastern armies of the Union. The brigade was initially made up of the 2nd, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin and the 19th Indiana Volunteers; later it was reinforced by the 24th Michigan Volunteers. Battery B of the 4th U.S. Artillery, consisting in large part of infantry detached from the brigade, was closely associated with it.
It was at Brawner Farm in Northern Virginia, on August 28, 1862 that the brigade saw its first significant action. From that time forward - at Second Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg - the Western soldiers earned and justified the proud name Iron Brigade. And when the war was over, the records showed that it led all Federal brigades in percentage of deaths in battle. The North might well have lost the battle of Gettysburg if not for the Iron Brigade's famous stand.
Nolan also includes in his account observations on some of the major figures of the War - such as Abraham Lincoln and Generals Grant, McClellan, Hancock, and Doubleday - as they were viewed by members of the Iron Brigade.
Read this book and you will understand what one officer meant when he wrote: "... the great Western or Iron Brigade... looking like giants with their tall black hats... and giants they were, in action."
Indiana University Press
I am immensely impressed... this particular Brigade needed a book of its own and now it has one which is definitely first-rate.... A fine book." —Bruce Catton
One of the ‘100 best books ever written on the Civil War.’" —Civil War Times Illustrated
... remains one of the best unit histories of the Union Army during the Civil War." —Southern Historian
... The Iron Brigade is the title for anyone desiring complete information on this military unit..." —Spring Creek Packet, Chuck Hamsa
This is the story of the most famous unit in the Union Army, the only all-Western brigade in the Eastern armies of the Union—made up of troops from Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan.