I’ve been reading Lance Herdegen’s “The Iron Brigade in Civil War and Memory” and am thouroughly enjoying it.I read his previous work on the Iron Brigade “Those ****ed Black Hats!…” but this covers their entire history, not just Gettysburg. It is a very easy read and I don’t mean that in a negative way. I sometimes get lost in reading some of the more “scholarly” works about battles when they get into troop movements and which regiment went where, in what field at what time. Sometimes I have to refer back to “Maps of Gettysburg” or “Maps of Antietam” to get things in perspective. But I digress.
This book tells about not only the Iron Brigade story but has little vignettes about what was happening in other parts of the Eastern theater and the war, a history of the states that comprised the brigade and funny little stories about the brigade. Here is an little story about the 19th Indiana’s train trip from Baltimore to Washington D.C.
Once out of Baltimore the bored soldiers trained their new muskets on “rebel” ducks and chickens along the railroad tracks. How much fowl was killed is unknown, but at least one horse was believed to be shot dead. Meredith, still much the farmer despite his new shoulder straps, was outraged that his men would shoot valuable livestock and stormed through the cars demanding to know who was pulling triggers. No one, of course, admitted to the deed.
This book is an interesting read. And the description of the brigade’s “baptism” at Brawner’s Farm has a little bit of a mystery book tone and very well done.