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Those Damned Black Hats! The Iron Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign Hardcover – September 30, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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About the Author

Award-winning journalist Lance J. Herdegen is the former director of the Institute of Civil War Studies at Carroll University. He previously worked as a reporter and editor for the United Press International (UPI) news service covering national politics and civil rights. He presently is historical consultant for the Civil War Museum of the Upper Middle West.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Savas Beatie; First Edition edition (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932714480
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932714487
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,094,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Reed on November 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a Civil War and history buff, I eagerly awaited Lance Herdegen's latest book. Herdegen continues to try and tell the individual stories of the men who fought in the Civil War, and placing those stories in the greater context of the struggle. With his reporter's eye for detail, the reader smells the dust of these men marching to Gettysburg, and the cold of the winter before Fredericksburg.

I was on a recent business trip and a colleague, who is not a history fan, asked if I had any books to help her read herself to sleep. I had just finished this tale of the Iron Brigade, and offered it to her. The next morning she complained that it did not help her to sleep; instead she was drawn by the individual stories of the men of the Iron Brigade.

So if you are a Civil War devotee, or just fascinated by the real stories of young men in a time of change, I would highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I have read so much on the heroic actions of the Iron Brigade at Gettysburg that I didn't think I could find much more that would be new to me. But Lance Herdegen has put together a fabulous work on this subject with "Those Damned Black Hats - The Iron Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign".

Recollections taken from letters written by survivors of the Brigade help to recount the story of the brigade's gallant actions in the fields and wood lots west of Gettysburg on July 1st, as well as their minor contributions on the 2nd and 3rd on Culp's Hill. Many wartime photos of Iron Brigade soldiers and maps of the troops' positions help tell the story.

Interestingly, Herdegen includes a few chapters that deal with the brigade's actions during Grant's push into Virginia in 1864. I wasn't expecting this, as the book was to deal with the Gettysburg campaign only, so I thought. But these sections work seamlessly with the main focus of the book, as it helps the reader to follow the men who fought at Gettysburg through to the conclusion of the war.

The final chapters deal with the various Iron Brigade veterans associations and their reunions and meetings with former Confederate foes during visits to the field in their final years. I found these accounts very interesting indeed... and rather touching.

A fine addition to the library of all who are interested in The Iron Brigade and The Gettysburg Campaign in general.
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Format: Hardcover
Herdegen's "Those Damned Black Hats" is a powerful and moving story of the 2nd, 6th, 7th Wisc, 19th Indiana and 24th Michigan in the fighting of July 12-3 1863, Gettysburg. The book uses many previous unused primary sources which give the reader a much more human insight into the fighting solider of the Iron Brigade during this time. What I didn't realize was how the Black Hats came together with their foes in friendship at the Gettysburg reunions of 1903 and 1913. The book contains excellent maps and many previously unseen photos of the Black Hats. Also included is a list of all who registered at the Iron Brigade Tent during the 50th anniversary of the battle. The "Damned Black Hats" is well-written and 1st rate scholarship
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Format: Hardcover
Who knew that more could be written about the Iron Brigade at Gettysburg and that it could be done so well! Lance Herdegen follows the tall, tough, black-hatted Western soldiers of the Iron Brigade on the road to Gettysburg and beyond.

This is a story about people under unique circumstances during a unique time and their ability to rise to the occasion. It is not a story of massive, impersonal armies moving here and there, it is a story about what people experienced for a few hot days in July in a place they never heard of before.

This is not your average military history - it is better. Herdegen adds to the story of the Iron Brigade by using newly discovered primary documents - letters, diaries and more to deftly to create an eminently readable mix of social and military history done as no one else can.

These are the stories of raw young men, far from home, doing their duty as only the young men of that era could.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm always interested in a new book about the hard fighting Iron Brigade of the West and when it's written by Lance Herdegen, it doesn't get much better than that.

If you are just discovering this Union Brigade, you'll find a wealth of information in these pages. If you are not new to this Brigade and think you know all the stories - you'll enjoy this book, too. It brings all the well known stories, plus new ones, into one volume of easy reading. I, for one, am glad that Lance has given us a before, during and after look at this Western Brigade at Gettysburg, as their "history" is fascinating and bears repeating. The tales from the soldier reunions after the war gives a more complete picture of these men from the West who fought in the East.

This new book will be a welcome addition to anyone's Iron Brigade or Gettysburg library.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Though I've read all of Mr. Herdegen's books that pertain to the Iron Brigade, this, in my opinion, is the best of the lot. While the author does a masterful job of chronicling the Iron Brigade's history from its inception to its arrival at and participation in the battle at Gettysburg, it is the individual soldier vignettes and the brigade's associated nuances, both of which are generously interspersed throughout the book, that make this volume special. The following case in point concerns the authors entertaining explanation of how the various Iron Brigade regiments and its associated artillery, Battery B, 4th U.S. Artillery, received their nicknames,

"If it was the `Ragged Assed 2nd' and `Calico 6th,' the 7th Wisconsin became the `Huckleberries.' One officer recalled that they were always talking about `pies and things to eat,' while the men of the 19th Indiana were simply `old Posey County' or `Swamp Hogs, Number 19' . . . the infantry volunteers and regulars serving with Battery B of the 4th U.S. Artillery became the `One hundred forty thieves' for their admired ability to carry foraged goods on their limbers and caissons. When the 24th Michigan was added to the Western Brigade in 1862, the Wolverines became `the featherbeds' because they were slow to enlist and brought so many creature comforts from back home."

I highly recommend this book to all Iron Brigade aficionados, those especially interested in the activities of the Army of the Potomac's First Corps at Gettysburg and Civil War historians in general.
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