Hardly any other unit of the Civil War would achieve such lasting fame as the so-called "Iron Brigade" of Wisconsin and Indiana. Its three Wisconsin and one Indiana regiments fought with a ferocity that made them stand out from other units, and suffered losses hardly equaled in any other unit. Indeed, so heavy were its causalities that the unit existed for only two years. The Second Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry was mustered into United States service on June 11, 1861, for "three years or during the war," in answer to President Lincoln's call dated May 3, 1861, for "500,000 men." The regiment was formed largely of Irish and other immigrants and suffered 33
percent losses at Second Manassas in 1862, and nearly 60 percent in that whole campaign. Going into Gettysburg the following year, it numbered almost 1,800; after the battle only 600 were left. The battle in Pennsylvania virtually destroyed the original brigade. The men of the 2nd Wisconsin, like their drummer seen here, wore dark blue frock coats, and dark blue trousers, with the black Hardee hat, their regimental number encircled by the infantryman's brass bugle. Known as "The Black Hat Brigade," the regiment returned to Madison, Wisconsin, on June 18, 1864, and was mustered out of the military service of the United States on July 2, 1864.
Below: When forming for a dress parade, members of a company or regiment usually placed musicians to their right.
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