The Iron Brigade
The Iron Brigade became one of the most celebrated military units on theAmerican Civil War (1861-1865). Wearing distinctive black hats, they wereeasily recognised by friend and foe alike. The five volunteer regiments inthe brigade were the 2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, the 19th Indiana and the24th Michigan. These regiments ranked among the most gallant and effectiveof the Union Army. U.S. 12, which intersects nearby, is named theIron Brigade Memorial Highway in their honor.
The Iron Brigade was given its nickname by General George B.McClellan as he witnessed them stand like "iron" against the enemyin Turner's Gap at the battle of South Mountain, Maryland, September 14, 1862. They served in all major engagements of the Armyof the Potomac.
Iron Brigade casualties ranked among the highest of the war. The2nd Wisconsin suffered the greatest percentage loss of the entireUnion Army, the 7th Wisconsin had more men killed in battle thanany other Union regiment and the 24th Michigan sustained the greatestnumerical loss of all Union regiments involved at Gettysburg.
The Twenty-Fourth Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment
The 24th Michigan Infantry mustered into U. S. service August 15, 1862 numbering 1,030 men. Commanded by Colonel Henry A. Morrow, these volunteer soldiers became part of the famous Iron Brigade and first distinguished themselves, under enemy fire, at the battle of Fredericksburg. Virginia. They fought at Chancellorsville and in three other engagements before Gettysburg—where they entered the battle with 496 men. After the first day's fight, only 99 men remained with their flag. The sacrifice of the 24th Michigan and the Iron Brigade helped slow the Confederate advance upon Gettysburg and allowed Federal forces to gain a position for victory.
The 24th Michigan struggled through 14 more battles, including the siege of Petersburg, Virginia. New recruits brought the regiment back to full strength and on May 4, 1865 they served as funeral escort for President Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois. The regiment mustered out and disbanded at Detroit, Michigan on June 30, 1865.
Henry Morrow rose to command the Iron Brigade in 1865. General Morrow is buried nearby in Silver Brook Cemetery, Niles, Michigan.