Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Owens, Kenneth N.||Sewell, Richard H.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of History


Iron Brigade.--History--Civil War; 1861-1865; United States. Army. Iron Brigade; Morale; United States--History--Civil War; 1861-1865--Regimental histories


The five regiments which composed the Iron Brigade are numbered among the outstanding military organizations of the Civil War. Recruited from the states of the Old Worth West, the Brigade, or portions thereof, took part in every major action of the Army of the Potomac from First Bull Run to Appomattox, except for the Peninsula Campaign. In the course of its service, the Iron Brigade suffered the largest percentage of casualties of all brigades in the Union A ray. It also earned a reputation as a hard-fighting, spirited force whose morale and esprit de corps remained firm in spits of appalling casualties sustained more frequently in general defeats than in victories. This paper investigates the reasons for the Iron Brigade's outstanding performance and its superior esprit de corps, as well as the decline of its effectiveness during the last year of the war. Closely examined are the volunteer status of its original membership, the quality of regimental and brigade leadership, the type of training it received, and the battlefield experience of the organization. The materials used in this study were primarily the regimental histories of the individual regiments, letters, journals, and diaries of the man in the Brigade, and contemporary newspaper articles, finally, the results of the study are discussed in relation to current military policy.


Includes bibliographical references.


viii, 89 pages




Northern Illinois University

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