FAMOUS DIVISIONS AND BRIGADES
Equally good fighting was done by the famous "Iron Brigade of the West," First Division, First Corps. Its record is, also, a heroic one.
2nd Wisconsin Infantry 238 6th Wisconsin Infantry 244 7th Wisconsin Infantry 281 19th Indiana Infantry 179 24th Michigan Infantry 189 Total (during the war) 1,131
In proportion to its numbers this brigade sustained the heaviest loss of any in the war. The brigade proper contained only the five regiments mentioned; and, yet, its aggregate of losses is exceeded in only one instance. At Manassas, under command of General Gibbon, the first four regiments named lost 148 killed, 626 wounded, and 120 missing; total, 894, out of about 2,000 engaged. At Gettysburg, General Meredith commanding, the five regiments were engaged, losing 162 killed, 724 wounded, and 267 missing; a total of 1,153 casualties, out of 1,883 engaged, or 61 per cent. Most of the missing at Gettysburg were killed or wounded. The Iron Brigade was also hotly engaged at South Mountain, Antietam, The Wilderness and Spotsylvania. It was organized in August, 1861, at which time it was composed of the three Wisconsin regiments and the Nineteenth Indiana. In October, 1862, the Twenty-fourth Michigan was added. The Second Wisconsin and Nineteenth Indiana did not reenlist, and so were mustered out, respectively, in June and August, 1864. During the Wilderness campaign the Seventh Indiana was attached to the brigade, but it was mustered out in August. The First New York Sharpshooters' Battalion was also attached to the brigade at one time, joining it in the fall of 1863. In February, 1865, the brigade was broken up, the Twenty-fourth Michigan having been ordered to Baltimore. The Sixth and Seventh Regiments remained in the First Brigade, Third Division (Crawford's), Fifth Corps, while the Sharpshooters' Battalion was assigned elsewhere. General John Gibbon commanded the Iron Brigade at Manassas, South Mountain, and Antietam; General Meredith, at Gettysburg; and General Cutler at the Wilderness. Cutler was succeeded in 1864, by General Edward S. Bragg,-- formerly Colonel of the Sixth Wisconsin -- an officer of marked ability and an intrepid soldier.
There was another organization, in the Army of the Potomac, known as the Iron Brigade, and it was in the same division with the "Iron Brigade of the West." It was composed of the Second United States Sharpshooters, the Twenty-second, Twenty-fourth, Thirtieth, and Eighty-fourth New York, forming Hatch's (1st) Brigade, First Division, First Corps. But the Twenty-second, Twenty-fourth, and Thirtieth New York were two years regiments, and were mustered out in May, 1863, thereby breaking up the organization. The Eighty-fourth New York (14th Brooklyn) was an exceptionally fine regiment, while the other regiments in the brigade made a reputation, also, as efficient commands. It seems strange that two brigades in the same division should adopt like synonyms; but, in justice to Hatch's Brigade, it should be stated that it was the original Iron Brigade, and that Gibbon's Brigade was not known by that title until after Antietam, at which time it was so designated by a war correspondent, who was apparently unaware of his lack of originality.
This Page last updated 01/26/02
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