Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Iron Brigade Impression

The 6th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry was part of the famous Iron Brigade that fought at South Mountain on September 14th, 1862 during their march toward Turner’s Gap. They started out early in the morning after bivouacking in Frederick, Maryland crossing the Catoctin Mountain by the afternoon where the sounds of battle could be heard. After reaching Middletown and Bolivar, the Iron Brigade was ordered onto the Mount Tabor Road where they received orders from about face and march back to the National Road for an assault on Turner’s Gap. The Iron Brigade was supported by Battery B, 4th U.S. Artillery. After several hours of fighting and night approaching, the Confederate brigade under the command of Colonel Alfred Colquitt still held Turner’s Gap. The next day, the Iron Brigade would begin the task of burial detail and then start making their way toward Antietam.

My Iron Brigade impression took a while to build. I am wearing the model 1858 dress hat known as the Hardee hat or Jeff Davis hat. This is the hat that is associated with the quote “Those damn black hats” when referring to the Iron Brigade. Many members of the Iron Brigade chose to wear the regulation nine button frock coat which was used for dress parade; picket duty and other non-fatigue duties. This style of dress would also carry the Iron Brigade to Gettysburg making them one of few units that wore the dress regulation uniform rather than the four-button fatigue blouse during the three day fight.

The trousers are the JT Martin style made from sky-blue kersey. I am also wearing not shown, the gray domet flannel regulation shirt. To reflect the hard campaigning season, I choose to wear a civilian style shoe that may have been purchased in Frederick.

My equipment consist of a model 1858 cartridge box with tins and tools for the musket inside the tool pouch, a cap pouch, bayonet and scabbard attached to an early war style belt and buckle. The haversack is loaded with rations and hanging on top if the haversack is the canteen. I am also wearing a knapsack that carries my blanket, gum blanket and one shelter half with a change of socks and other personal items. I am also carrying the Springfield model 1855.

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