Iron Brigade & Beyond: The Black Hats Earns Their Better Alias at South Mountain

Sep 4, 2012

In a couple of weeks, the United States will commemorate the 150th anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War – the Battle of Antietam. But just a few days before that well-known fight came another significant clash between Union and Confederate forces that would come to solidify the reputation of the Wisconsin soldiers in the Iron Brigade.

"Fighting" Joe Hooker, who was in command of the I Corps during the Battle of South Mountain, a precurser fight to Antietam.
Credit Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

The Battle of South Mountain took place in the mountains of western Maryland. Union forces were attempting to pursue Confederate troops under general Robert E. Lee.

It was at Turner’s Gap in these mountain passes where the men of the 2nd, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin and the 19th Indiana would take a stand and get their name.

Our Civil War contributor Thomas Martin Sobbotke, picks up the story, starting with one of the war’s more colorful characters.

Sobottke is the voice and brains behind our Iron Brigade and Beyond: Wisconsin in the Civil War series, produced by Stephanie Lecci. Sobottke is also the author of the book, Across That Dark River: The Civil War Memory, published by Moving Train Books LLC.