Return to Manassas 2010
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Author:  KangViper [ Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Return to Manassas 2010

I was just wondering if anyone else will be attending this event put on by Chris Anders? It's about the 2nd Battle of Manassas being held in Elizabethtown, PA. It's on the same site where they hold the Hope Campaign.

One of the scenarios that they have is the Railroad Cut and I think that there should be a good amount of USSS present for this scenario. I'm planning on going and possible bringing my messmates to the event. And I was wondering if anyone else is interested. I saw that Co. B 1st USSS has the event on the schedule and we can form up with them during the scenarios. Let me know what you guys think on if you're interested.

Here's the website: http://www.returntomanassas.com/

Author:  Bill Skillman [ Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Return to Manassas 2010-Federal Impression

Joesph and Fellow Sharpshooters,

I have read the guidelines for Return to Manassas 2010. The event hosts have limited the Federal impression to "The Iron Brigade" and "Gibbons Brigade". For the vast majority of reenactors out there-North and South; these brigades are one and the same. EVERYBODY knows that the 2, 6, 7th Wisconsin, 19 Indiana and 24th Michigan volunteer infantry regiments comprised the "Iron Brigade", right?

Well, in a word, NO! I wrote up an article for the Company 'B' 2nd USSS newsletter as we were preparing to attend the 140th Antietam event. I have asked Dave Rider to add the article as a link to this one. I trust that after reading the article, that those of us who portray the U.S. Sharpshooters, particularly Major HAV Post's regiment, will stand a little taller and cockier.

However, I am going on the record right now that I will NOT be held responsibile for any brawls that might break out at the RtM event between the Sharpshooters and any offended 'Black Hats' over whose regiment is entitled to the nom de guerre 'First Iron Brigade'.

Bill Skillman
Randolph Mess-USSS

Author:  BrianTWhite [ Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Return to Manassas 2010


If they had just said the impression was "The Iron Brigade" at the time of 2nd Bull Run, I would insist that you show up in a USSS uniform, I show up in a 14th Brooklyn uniform, and we ask Chris Anders and others if they have seen our brigade anywhere.

Also, McDowell's First Corps joined Pope's Army of Virginia in June 1862 and was re-designated the Third Corps. Then after the defeat at 2nd Bull Run it was then transferred into the Army of the Potomac and became the First Corps again, this time under Hooker. Correct?

The "Black Hats" as they were called at the time were the 4th brigade, 1st Division, First Corps while the 2nd U.S.S.S. remained in the FIRST Brigade, FIRST Division, FIRST Corps, making them quite obviously, the First Iron Brigade and not some johnny-come-lately mudsill westerners!

Love this story and debate, but not as much as I love stories about Berdan shooting an artillery horse and trying to convince the battery's officer that a stray shell killed it.

Author:  KangViper [ Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Return to Manassas 2010


from what I saw on the website that it says "The Iron Brigade" and "Doubleday's Brigade". I should have said something to Anders this past weekend. Since I was fighting in the CVG.

Author:  Bill Skillman [ Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Return to Manassas 2010

Fellow Sharpshooters.

I thought I'd post what is written about the First Iron Brigade, as it currently appears in Wikipedia as the 'Eastern Iron Brigade". Sadly, the vast majority of reenactors and even historians are ignorant of the original regiments who made up this brigade and first earned the 'nom de guerre'. Today it is only a smattering of 14th Brooklyn and 2nd USSS reenactors who remember that they can trace their lineage to the First Iron Brigade.

So Sharpshooters, stand a little taller, and set the record straight!

Brain, I'll be there in my blue blouse, and greens if you promise to wear one of those Brooklyn organ grinder's costumes. :lol: I'll be sure to yell (instead of "Mister, here's your mule"): "Mister, where's your minkey?"

Bill Skillman
Randolph Mess-USSS

Origin of the brigade and its name

The Eastern Iron Brigade consisted of the 22nd New York, 24th New York, 30th New York, 14th Regiment (New York State Militia), and 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters. During the Fredericksburg Expeditions, the brigade had two cavalry regiments attached to it, including the 2nd New York Cavalry Regiment "Harris Light" under the command of Lt. Col. Judson Kilpatrick (originally of 5th New York Zouaves). The pair of cavalry regiments were later sent back to their normal divisions.

Original Veteran's Medal for Eastern Iron Brigade

The veteran brigade, under Col. Walter Phelps, received its nickname when Brig. Gen. Christopher C. Augur began a campaign near and around Fredericksburg, Virginia, from April 16 to July 23, 1862. After the Fredericksburg Expeditions, Brig. Gen. Marsena R. Patrick commented to Augur: "Your men must be made of iron to make such marches." The men of the 1st Brigade adopted this well received nickname. From then on they were known as the "Iron Brigade," and then later on as the "Eastern Iron Brigade."

After Fredericksburg

After the successful campaign, the brigade mostly did skirmishes and reconnaissance work for the Army of the Potomac. Before the July 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, the original 1st Brigade, 1st Division, I Corps was disbanded, and all of its regiments were transferred to other brigades or mustered out. Sgt. Major James Mero Matthews of the 2nd USSS wrote in his Journal the day they were transferred out of the First Iron Brigade.

(December 30, 1862) "Orders Came Late last night to join Berdan's 1st Regiment. So this morning after taking leave of the Brigade and Colonel Phelps, we left this Old Iron Brigade. Colonel Phelps made a short heartfelt speech and then the brigade stacked arms and took leave of us by shaking hands."

At that time, the brigade under Brig. Gen. Solomon Meredith, which had received considerable press attention as the Iron Brigade since the September 1862 Battle of South Mountain (at that time under Brig. Gen. John Gibbon), was redesignated 1st Brigade, 1st Division, I Corps. Disputes between the veterans of the two brigades increased in frequency and bitterness. Regiments like the 14th Brooklyn kept up the fight and always reminded their 2nd Iron Brigade Counterparts that the 14th Brooklyn was in fact a member of the First Iron Brigade. The men of the 14th Brooklyn never referred to the First Iron Brigade as the Eastern Iron Brigade because they felt as though they were in fact the First.

Traces of the First Iron brigade in history
Since the American Civil War much has been forgotten, and sadly the First Iron Brigade was almost lost to time itself. But from about 1998 to 2008 much evidence and records and accounts of the actual First Iron Brigade has surfaced. Below are some accounts taken from records and reports from the war itself.

The following:

"In June the regiment became a part of the 1st brigade, 1st division, 3d corps, Army of Virginia, and in Sept., 1862, the same brigade and division, was made part of the 1st corps, Army of the Potomac. This brigade was known as the Iron Brigade before the Iron Brigade of the West was formed."

Below is the poem written by Captain Austin W Holden of the 24th New York State Infantry:
“The Old Iron Brigade” From the camp and its now peaceful revels, The bugles will soon call us forth, The “Thirtieth" and “Red Legged Devils", “Twenty-second" and the brave “Twenty-fourth." To terror each heart is a stranger, Tis cowards alone are afraid, Then on to the front line of danger, With the gallant old “Iron Brigade."[i]

A report from William Fox of the 107th NY states that:

[i]“The brigade that was composed of the 22nd New York, 24th New York, 30th New York, 14th Regiment [New York State Militia], and 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters was the first to be called the “Iron Brigade” because of its brave fighting at South Mountain and Antietam”

From the New York Herald, June 2,1863:

"The old 'Iron Brigade' is no more. One by one its regiments have passed through Washington to their homes... The Twenty-fourth and Thirtieth left several days since and their departure and reception at home have already been chronicled. The Twenty-second passed through Washington last night and the Fourteenth remains alone..."

Author:  Bill Skillman [ Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Return to Manassas 2010-Tom Clemens article

Fellow Sharpshooters;

I wanted to add this piece from the Richmond Round Table (2000) since the presenter was Thomas G. Clemens who did the original research into the First Iron Brigade that appeared in the Columbiad magazine circa 1998. Curtiss Poole, Michigan's Co. 'B' 2nd USSS founder purchased an original Post-War Iron Brigade medal at the Mansfield, Ohio CW show. It was a in the shape of a Maltese Cross suspended by a clasp and ribbon. On each wing was stamped with the infantry regiments (22, 24, 30, 14 Brooklyn and 2nd USSS). Curtiss sent a photocopy of the medal for Mr. Clements to include in future articles.

This should set the record straight once and for all.

Bill Skillman
Randolph Mess-USSS

Richmond Civil War Roundtable (2000) Notes
Presenter: Thomas G. Clemens

"Will the Real Iron Brigade Please Stand Up!"

Review of the July 2000 Program

Tom presented an informative talk on "Will the Real Iron Brigade Please Stand Up!" The talk focused on who was really entitled to the nickname "Iron Brigade" and how some commonly held beliefs about the unit are not completely supported by the historical record.

The standard story is that Brigadier General John Gibbon commanded the Iron Brigade and that it was composed of the 2nd, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, and 24th Michigan Infantry regiments. Its nickname resulted primarily from its fighting abilities as demonstrated at the Battle of South Mountain. According to legend, Major General George B. McClellan asked Major General Joseph Hooker for an "iron brigade" to pierce the Confederate center that day, and Fighting Joe sent forward Gibbon's men, who had been known as the "Black Hat Brigade" because of their distinctive Hardee hats. The general's continued in conversation during
the battle, and both of them used the term "iron" in describing the men. Actually, Gibbon's was not the first, nor the only, brigade to have this title.

As Clemens pointed out, this entire tale is based primarily upon a story by W. H. Atkins, which appeared in the veterans' publication The National Tribune in 1904. None of the generals mentioned by Atkins were still alive at the time to refute his account. Hooker had not been with McClellan at the time and had not even witnessed Gibbon's men in action. After the war, Gibbon was asked about the sobriquet, but he could not recall when it had been applied to his brigade but thought it was shortly after the Battle of Antietam.

A unit of New Yorkers, the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, First Corps, was the original Iron Brigade. Composed of the 22nd, 24th, 30th, and 84th (14th Brooklyn) regiments, this brigade was commanded originally by Brigadier General Christopher C. Augur. In March 1862, while on a raid in central Virginia, the men made a long and difficult march. Brigadier General Marsena Patrick, who saw them coming into camp, said to Augur, "Your men must be made of iron to make such marches." From this time until the regiments were mustered out of the
army in the fall of 1862, the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, First Corps, was known as the Iron Brigade.

Clemens shared some of the strongest evidence supporting this brigade's claim to the nickname. The papers of Colonel Walter Phelps, Jr., of the 22nd New York, contain a number of references to the term in his letters and diaries. There are also several relics that bolster this position. Badges were made up for the brigade's members, and they contain thename Iron Brigade and a list of the regiments in it. Several years ago, a relic hunter found one of the metals while digging near Fredericksburg. A flag carried by the 24th New York Infantry is preserved in the state capital in Albany. One side of the banner has the words "24th Regiment, Iron
Brigade, 1st Division, 1st Army Corps." Finally, Captain Austin W. Holden, assistant surgeon of the 22nd New York, wrote a song dedicated to Colonel Phelps called "A Song of the Iron Brigade."

During the course of the Civil War, several other units called themselves the Iron Brigade. Included were the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, Third Corps (17th Maine, 3rd and 5th Michigan, 1st, 37th, and 101st New York) and Brigadier General Jesse Reno's brigade of the Ninth Corps (21st and 35th Massachusetts, 51st New York, and 51st Pennsylvania). Clemens concluded by saying that, while Gibbon's "Black Hats" are the most famous Iron Brigade, more than one unit can claim the nickname and that we must be careful not to accept too readily some of the famous stories that have come out of the Civil War.

Author:  BrianTWhite [ Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Return to Manassas 2010

Here's the medal. I would go ape if these could be restruck, especially the war time variety.


Author:  Bill Skillman [ Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Return to Manassas 2010


I agree, what a great medal to wear the next time we travel to 'Leinkuegel and cheese head' country!

I was fascinated to discover that the Michigan USSS consolidated battalion (of December 1864 to February 1865) could also rightfully stake a claim to the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 3rd AC "Iron Brigade" reputation, as identified by Mr. Clemens.

They (recruits/veterans of Company 'C', 'K' and 'I') comprised the last surviving portion of the 1st USSS after that regiment was disbanded or mustered out. The later two companies were not mustered in until March 1862, so still had time left to serve. The battalion served in the same brigade with the 3rd and 5th Michigan Veteran Volunteers until the 3rd was disbanded and absorbed into the 5th Michigan. At the same time Michigan consolidated sharpshooter battalion was disbanded along with Company 'B' from the 2nd USSS; both being absorbed into the 5th Mich VV Infantry. During the last months of the War, the 5th served as the brigade skirmish regiment and Genco's book lists 76 men armed with Sharps breechloading rifles with triangular bayonets. McCauley's book identifies another 40 men issued NM1858 'infantry model' Sharps.

Bill Skillman
Randolph Mess-USSS

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