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The Iron Brigade
Laurel and others,
The story of the Black Hats on the Iron Brigade came originally from the
19th. Indiana. While in training in Indianapolis, the powerful Governor,
Oliver P. Morton, a close friend of Abraham Lincoln, invited the troops going
off to war to our capital lawn. When he saw the rag tag look of the regiment,
he immediately ordered new uniforms for all of them. As supply was low and
demand was high, the usual kepis were not available. What was available was
the "stove top" woolen dress hats with plumes. The Iron Brigade won it's
moniker at South Mountain, where "Fightin' Joe Hooker" Said they stood like
iron. The southern army called them "The Black Hats", as fear would spread
throughout the ranks when the Black Hats were across the lines.
In September of 1863, in Poolseville Maryland this Iron Brigade along with
the 3rd. Indiana Cavalry would meet the Laurel Brigade of the Confederacy. I
had 3 of my great great grandfathers in this battle. 2 were Union (George
Marshall Rathbone and John Westley Oliphant) and 1 Confederate (William
Jordan). I am very proud of all 3.
Remember that Gettysburg and Vicksburg were both won of the 4th. of July.
Donald Sinclair (Indianapolis)
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