In the tradition of the great regimental histories of the past, this book records the fire which seared the ranks of the Twenty-Four Michigan Regiment of the legendary “Iron Brigade.”
Born as the result of a riot, led by a Virginian, met with coldness and hostility by the black-hatted veterans of the brigade, the Twenty-Fourth swore it would win their respect…and so they did with a vengeance.
At Fredericksburg, in “artillery hell” and under a murderous crossfire from the guns of “Stonewall” Jackson and “Jeb” Stuart, they performed the manual of arms to stead the line. The first day at Gettysburg they sparked this remark from the confederate ranks…”That ain’t no milishy, there’s those damn black hats again.” With the immortal First Corps they were ordered west of the town to hold long enough for the army to occupy the strategic heights behind them. They held, and by evening they had lost more men than any of the 400-odd Union regiments engaged in the battle.
Still later they marched down “that crimson strip across the maps,” which marked Grant’s Wilderness Campaign; they bled at Petersburg and then, their ranks almost decimated, were sent to guard bounty jumpers. The last tribute to their gallant service came as they were chosen the Guard of Honor for Lincoln’s funeral.
In a little more than two years of bloody fighting they found their way to nineteenth place on the list of “300 Fighting Regiments.” To read this book is to consort with heroes who, 100 years ago, stood watching their world writhe in agony. It gives hope that in matching their courage, our country will emerge from the cauldron triumphant.
Born in Detroit in 1913, the a author first became interested in the Civil War when, in his teens, he was presented with a copy of 1861 drill regulations and an ancient set of Battles and Leaders. From that moment on he became a confirmed student of the War between The States and perennially trekked to Civil War Battlefields, old book stores, antique shops, attics, basements, barns, and sheds in an all out effort to further his knowledge of the period.
After enrolling at Michigan State, a thirst for adventure and the great depression, combined with the fact that no course in the Civil War was on the Curriculum, caused him to drop out before graduation. Attendance at various military schools completed his education.
He joined the Detroit Police Department in 1937 and at the same time affiliated with the Army Reserve from which he was ordered to active duty in 1941. Serving throughout the war he rejoined the Police Department only to be called again for active duty during the Korean emergency. By this time he had been promoted to detective. During this tour of duty several magazine articles by the author were published.
His interest in the Twenty-Fourth Michigan sprang anew on his return from service life and two long hospital stays as a result of aggravated services wounds provided ample time to collect the material which resulted in this book. Overall, it represents more than 25 years of research.