The Iron Brigade was an infantry brigade in the Union Army of the Potomac during the American Civil War. Noted for its strong discipline, its unique uniform appearance, and its tenacious fighting ability, this unit received the most lasting publicity in its use of the nickname.
The Iron Brigade initially consisted of the 2nd, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiments, the 19th Indiana Battery B of the 4th U.S. Light Artillery, and was later joined by the 24th Michigan. This particular composition of men, from the three Western states, came to be referred to as the “Iron Brigade of the West” although they fought entirely in the Eastern Theater. They were also known throughout the war as the “Black Hats” because of the black 1858 model Hardee hats issued to Army regulars, rather than the blue kepis worn by most other Union Army units.
This memorial plaque, sponsored by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and honoring the men of the Iron Brigade, was erected along US Highway 12 in Wisconsin.