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Those Damned Black Hats! The Iron Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign

4.43  ·  Rating Details ·  46 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
WINNER FOR OPERATIONAL / BATTLE HISTORY, 2008, ARMY HISTORICAL FOUNDATION DISTINGUISHED BOOK AWARDThe Iron Brigade--an all-Western outfit famously branded as The Iron Brigade of the West--served out their enlistments entirely in the Eastern Theater. Hardy men were these soldiers from Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan, who waged war beneath their unique black Hardee Hats on ...more
Hardcover, 323 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by Savas Beatie (first published August 31st 2008)
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Steven Peterson
Oct 08, 2009 Steven Peterson rated it it was amazing
The Iron Brigade (or the Black Hats) was one of the great fighting units of the Union Army of the Potomac. One unique factor was that all the regiments for the brigade came from the West--Indiana, Michigan (the 24th Michigan joined the brigade later in its existence), and Wisconsin, and the troops were proud of that. Their inaugural battle as a brigade was a toe-to-toe exchange of fire with the Stonewall Brigade at Brawner's Farm (or Groveton). And they held their own. They, according to one ...more
Jan 18, 2013 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bruce by: Ad on another book's jacket
Shelves: american-history
"Where has the firmness of the Iron Brigade at Gettysburg been surpassed in history?" Asked Rufus Dawes in a letter from Marietta, Ohio to an 1884 reunion of his Lemonweir Minute Men at Mauston [WI]. "Two thousand muskets were carried into battle and for four long hours these men breasted the billows of rebellion until twelve hundred were shot down under the colors. Then, with colors flying and unbroken front, they retired to the Cemetery Hill. But that four hours time saved our army Cemetery ...more
John Gordon
Aug 18, 2014 John Gordon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The focus of this book is the terrific struggle by the Iron Brigade on the first day of the battle of Gettysburg. Well researched and a pleasure to read, the book takes the reader to a soldiers eye view of the campaign, the fighting and the sacrifices on that fateful day.
The 1st Brigade, 1st Division, I Corps was nicknamed the "Iron Brigade" for their steadfastness in battle and was the only all western brigade serving in the eastern campaigns. They were nicknamed the "Black Hats" by the Confede
Jul 05, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it
Those Damned Black Hats! reads like almost like a historical fiction adventure, except all of the people and events are real. Herdegens narrative is fast-paced and filled with tales of courage, tragedy, and occasionally humor. The narrative is also broader than the books subtitle suggests, Herdegen covers the regiments of the brigade, and their members, from the beginning of the war through to the end, and into the veterans twilight years in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The story of Battery B ...more
Feb 28, 2015 Ernesto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Compared to the other book I read about this legendary military unit (John Selby’s classic 1971 text edited by Osprey) this one is much more in-depth and close to the common soldier’s experience; it examines in minute detail (as through a magnifying glass) the lives, deaths, sufferings and struggles of those hardy Western frontiersmen (so often neglected and looked down by their Eastern AOP comrades) as they win everlasting glory (albeit at the terrible costs of near total annihilation) that hot ...more
Sarah W
This book provides many interesting anecdotes about the members of the Iron Brigade during the Gettysburg campaign. I'd heard several of these stories in battlewalks by rangers and licensed battlefield guides at Gettysburg, which I enjoyed reading in print form.

While the book was clearly well researched and document, typos in both the main text and the photograph captions detracted from the reading experience. The book provides more information on the Wisconsin and Michigan regiments in the Iro
Jan 16, 2012 Britt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By far the best Brigade history I've read. Herdegen mixes fascinating stories in with the Iron Brigade's famous fight on McPherson's Ridge and makes the reader become enamored with names like Richardson, Bragg, Dawes, Morrow, Robinson, McConnell, Lane and many more. What I found even more interesting in some ways than the battle overview was the postwar history of enemies meeting and returning to the hallowed ground where so many of their comrades fell silent. What an amazing book!
Dec 21, 2013 Art rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: civil-war
Well researched and easy to read, this is a nice piece if military history not dry as a bone. The last thing I wanted to do right now was read yet another Gettysburg book, but listening to the author interviewed on the Civil War Talk Radio podcast made me move this book to the top of the list. I wasn't sorry, in fact I wish I could read more history written this well.
Scott L.
Aug 22, 2015 Scott L. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it, gettysburg
Excellent book, very well researched and written. Many soldier's quotes taken from the original sources. I highly recommend this book for everyone, but especially those interested in the Iron Brigade, the War Between The States, and/or the Battle of Gettysburg.
Dec 14, 2015 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, military
One of the best accounts I've read about the Iron Brigade. My great-great-grandfather (Lafayette Haskins) was part of A Company of the 7th Wisconsin, and it was nice to get some more specifics, and in particular anecdotes, of his group. If you're a Civil War buff, this feels like a must-read.
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