Rashness of That Hour: Politics, Gettysburg, and the Downfall of Confederate Brigadier General Alfred Iverson
WINNER, 2010, DR. JAMES I. ROBERTSON LITERARY PRIZE FOR CONFEDERATE HISTORY AWARD WINNER, 2011, THE BACHELDER-CODDINGTON LITERARY AWARD, GIVEN BY THE ROBERT E. LEE CIVIL WAR ROUND TABLE OF CENTRAL NEW JERSEY No commander in the Army of Northern Virginia suffered more damage to his reputation at Gettysburg than did Brig. Gen. Alfred Holt Iverson. In little more than an hour during the early afternoon of July 1, 1863, much of his brigade (the 5th, 12th, 20th, and 23rd North Carolina regiments) was slaughtered in front of a stone wall on Oak Ridge. Amid rumors that he was a drunk, a coward, and had slandered his own troops, Iverson was stripped of his command less than a week after the battle and before the campaign had even ended. After months of internal feuding and behind-the-scenes political maneuvering, the survivors of Iverson s ill-fated brigade had no doubt about who to blame for their devastating losses. What remained unanswered was the lingering uncertainty of how such a disaster could have happened. This and many other questions are explored for the first time in Robert J. Wynstra s The Rashness of That Hour: Politics, Gettysburg, and the Downfall of Confederate Brigadier General Alfred Iverson. Wynstra s decade-long investigation draws upon a wealth of newly discovered and previously unpublished sources to provide readers with fresh perspectives and satisfying insights. The result is an engrossing chronicle of how the brigade s politics, misadventures, and colorful personalities combined to bring about one of the Civil War s most notorious blunders. As Wynstra s research makes clear, Iverson s was a brigade in fatal turmoil long before its rendezvous with destiny in Forney field on July 1. This richly detailed and thoughtfully written account is biographical, tactical, and brigade history at its finest. For the first time we have a complete picture of the flawed general and his brigade s bitter internecine feuds that made Iverson s downfall nearly inevitable and help us better understand the rashness of that hour. About the Author: Robert J. Wynstra recently retired as a senior writer for the News and Public Affairs Office in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois. He holds Bachelor s and Master s degrees in history and a Master s degree in journalism, all from the University of Illinois. Rob has been researching Alfred Iverson s role in the Civil War for more than ten years. He is finishing work on a study of Robert Rodes Division in the Gettysburg Campaign.
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12th North 20th North 23rd North Carolina 5th North Carolina Adjutant advance Alabama Alfred Iverson army artillery attack battery battle Blacknall Papers Brig camp Capt Captain captured Carlisle cavalry Cemetery Hill Chambersburg Clack Clark Coghill Coleman command Confederate Corps County D. H. Hill Davis Dear Despite division Doles enemy enemy’s Enlisted Men Officers Entry for June Ewell Ewell’s field fighting fire flank Foard front Garrett Georgia Gettysburg Hagerstown ibid infantry Iverson Jr Iverson’s Brigade Jackson Jed Hotchkiss Jenkins John July June 28 letter Lieutenant Colonel major March Marston Diary McRae Mercer military moved Mummasburg Road NC Regiments NCOAH O’Neal’s Brigade Officers & Enlisted orders Pennsylvania position Private promotion Raleigh Ramseur’s Ramseur’s Brigade recalled regiment reported Richmond Ridge Rodes Samuel Cooper sharpshooters Sinclair skirmishers soldiers soon Stephen Dodson Ramseur town troopers Vance Virginia wagons William wounded wrote Zebulon Baird Vance