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THE IRON BRIGADE

THE PRIDE OF BATTERY B
by
Frank H. Gassaway


South Mountain towered on our right,
Far off the river lay,
And over on the wooded height
We held their line at bay.


At last the mutt'ring guns were stilled,
The day died slow and wan.
At last their pipes the gunners filled,
The Sergeant's yarns began.

When,--as the wind a moment blew
Aside the fragrant flood
Our brierwoods raised,--within our view
A little maiden stood.

A tiny tot of six or seven;
From fireside fresh she seemed.
Of such a little one in heaven
One soldier often dreamed.)

And as we started, her little hand
Went to her curly head
In grave salute; "And who are you?"
At length the Sergeant said.

"And where's your home?" he growled again.
She lisped out, "Who is me?
"And where's your home?" he growled again.
Why, don't you know? I'm little Jane,
the pride of Battery B.

"My home? Why, that was burned away,
And pa and ma are dead,
And so I ride the guns all day
Along with Sergeant Ned.

"And I've a drum that's not a toy,
A cap with feathers too,
And I march beside the drummer-boy
On Sundays at review.

"But now our bacca's all give out,
The men can't have their smoke,
And so they're cross--why, even Ned
Won't play with me and joke.

"And the big Colonel said to-day--
I hate to hear him swear--
He'd give a leg for a good pipe
Like the Yanks have over there.

"And so I thought, when beat the drum,
And the big guns were still,
I'd creep beneath the tent and come
Out here across the hill.

"And beg, good Mister Yankee men,
You'd give me some Lone Jack.
Please do--when we get some again
I'll surely bring it back.

"Indeed I will, for Ned, says he,
If I do what I say
I'll be a general yet, maybe,
And ride a prancing bay."

We brimmed her tiny apron o'er;
You should of heard her laugh
As each man from his scanty store
Shook out a generous half.

To kiss that little mouth stooped down
A score of grimy men,
Until the Sergeant's husky voice
Said "'Tention, squad!"--and then

We gave her escort, till good-night
The pretty waif we bid,
And watched her toddle out of sight--
Or else 'twas tears that hid

Her tiny form--nor turned about
A man, nor spoke a word,
Till after while a far, hoarse shout
Upon the wind we heard.

We sent it back, then cast sad eye
Upon the scene around.
A baby's hand had touched the tie
That brothers once had bound.

That's all--save when the dawn awoke
Again the work of hell,
And through the sullen clouds of smoke
The screaming missles fell,

Our Gen'ral often rubbed his glass,
And marvelled much to see
Not a single shell that whole day fell

In the camp of Battery B.


Battery B is a light artillery group, when one belongs they tend to fall in love with it, or should I say the cannon.

Hurrah for the Light Artillery!


- Author Unknown -

This is a tribute to the men who manned the light artillery batteries



On the unstained sward of the gentle slope,
Full of valor and nerved by hope,
The infantry sways like a coming sea;
Why lingers the light artillery?
“Action front!”

.


Whirling the Parrotts like children's toys,
The horses strain to the rushing noise;
To right and to left, so fast and free,
They carry the light artillery.
“Drive on!”

.


The gunner cries with a tug and a jerk,
The limbers fly, and we bend to our work;
The handspike in, and the implements out -
We wait for the word, and it comes with a shout -
“Load!”

.
The foes pour on their billowy line;
Can nothing check their bold design?
With yells and oaths of fiendish glee,
They rush for the light artillery.
“Commence firing!”

.
Hurrah! Hurrah! our bulldogs bark,
And the enemy's line is a glorious mark;
Hundreds fall like grain on the lea,
Mowed down by the light artillery.
“Fire!”

.


“Fire!” and “Load!” are the only cries
Thundered and rolled to the vaulted skies;
Aha! they falter, they halt, they flee
From the hail of the light artillery.
“Cease firing!”

.


The battle is over, the victory won
Ere the dew is dried by the rising sun;
While the shout bursts out, like a full-voiced sea,
“Hurrah for the light artillery!
Hurrah for the light artillery!”

Union Soldier Life

The Iron Brigade of the West was composed of


2d Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry


6th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry


7th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry


19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry


24th Michigan Volunteer Infantry


and of course, Battery B, 4th U.S. Artillery


Origin of the Title "Iron Brigade"

General McClellan told General John B. Callis of Lancaster, Wis., at the Continental Hotel in Philadelphia when his grand reception was given there, what he knew of the origin of the cognomen "Iron Brigade."

Said he: "During the battle of South Mountain my headquarters were where I could see every move of the troops taking the gorge on the Pike (National Road). With my glass I saw the men fighting against great odds, when General Hooker came in great haste for some orders. I ask him what troops were those fighting on the Pike? His answer was: 'General Gibbon's Brigade of Western men.' I said, 'They must be made of iron.'

He replied, 'By the Eternal they are iron. If you had seen them at Second Bull Run as I did, you would know them to be iron.'

I replied, 'Why, General Hooker, they fight equal to the best troops in the world.'

This remark so elated Hooker that he mounted his horse and dashed away without his orders. After the battle, I saw Hooker at the Mountain House near where the Brigade fought. He sang out, 'Now General, what do you think of the Iron Brigade?' Ever since that time I gave them the cognomen of Iron Brigade." [from the program of the 1900 reunion of the Iron Brigade Association in Chicago]

This is only part of the history of this group. As you become interested and involved you too will learn, learn about this war and what was sacrificed. I became interested in this my going along, watching a friend of mine, give living histories. It is during this time I found out that I was learning a lot more than I did in school..and I am a teacher!!


Many of those that participate in these events have all the details down and probably can correct some teachers within the school systems. As you come to these events you too will become addicted and come to the realization that "reenacting is not a glorification of war rather a remembrance for those who died for our freedoms."(Carlene M. Wojahn)

The Grand Review

And here are passing now those yet spared from earth and heaven of that "Iron Brigade," of Meredith's, on whose list appear such names as Lucius Fairchild, Henry Morrow, Rufus Dawes, and Samuel Williams, and such regiments as the 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan, and 2d, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin, which on the first day's front line with Buford and Reynolds, in that one fierce onset at Willoughby's run, withstood overwhelming odds, with the loss of a thousand, a hundred and fifty-three of highest manliness. Here draws near a moving spectacle indeed, the last of the dear old First Corps; thrice decimated at Gettysburg in action and passion heroic, martyr-like, sublime

Sit down again together, Army of the Potomac! all that are left of us,-on the banks of the river whose name we bore, into which we have put new meaning of our own. Take strength from one more touch, ere we pass afar from the closeness of old. The old is young to-day; and the young is passed. Survivors of the fittest,-for the fittest, it seems to us, abide in the glory where we saw them last,-take the grasp of hands, and look into the eyes, without words! Who shall tell what is past and what survives? For there are things born but lately in the years, which belong to the eternities.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

Brevet Major-General U.S. Volunteers-

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