NPS Chickamauga and Chattanooga
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  • Transcript Stop 6

    Tour Stop 6: The Wilder Brigade Monument

    Early on the morning of September 20th, Colonel John T. Wilder's Brigade of Mounted Infantry, known throughout the Union army as the "Lightning Brigade", was ordered from its position along the western edge of Viniard Field to a low ridge just west of the battlefield to be held in reserve.

    As Longstreet's men swept through the gap and collapsed the Federal right, his southernmost brigade of Alabamians and South Carolinians, under the command of General Arthur Manigault,  carne into view to the east in Dyer Field.  Wilder reacted quickly and counter-attacked the Confederates, his men advancing while firing their seven-shot Spencer repeating rifles as rapidly as possible.   General Manigault later wrote, "The fire we got under when first we became engaged in the morning exceeded anything I ever before or after experienced.  The air seemed alive with bullets and an officer afterwards remarked to me, 'General, all you had to do was to hold out your hand and catch them.'  Out of about 800 men that carne into the full fury of this storm, nearly 300 were shot down in a space of time certainly not exceeding 3 minutes."

    Manigault’s Brigade broke under the heavy fire and rapidly retreated back into the woods east of the Lafayette Road to regroup.  As Wilder prepared to reform and press his attack north, he was advised to withdraw, and upon learning of the flight of the remainder of the Union right wing, did so.

    Today, the Wilder Brigade Monument stands near the spot where Colonel Wilder's Brigade went into action.  The monument stands eighty-five feet tall and was built on the site of widowed Eliza Glenn's cabin, which served as General Rosecrans' headquarters on September 19th.  The home was destroyed by fire during the battle, leaving the twenty­three year old widow homeless.

    Continuing along the auto tour route, there are Federal monuments to the units of Brigadier General Lytle’s Brigade.