Privateers – What’s in a Name?

A number of the privateer outfits used by the corporate systems to augment their forces in Last Measure of Devotion have historical significance.

Iron Brigade of the West (In Book 5, just “The Iron Brigade”)

Also known as the Black Hat Brigade and primarily consisting of Wisconsin volunteers, this American Civil War brigade was designated as 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 1st Corps. They were also first in casualties suffered (proportionally).  The designation “Iron Brigade” is said to have originated during the brigade’s action at Turners Gap, during the Battle of South Mountain, a prelude to the Battle of Antietam in September 1862. Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, commanding I Corps, approached Army of the Potomac commander Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, seeking orders. As the Western men advanced up the National Road, forcing the Confederate line all the way back to the gap, McClellan asked, “What troops are those fighting in the Pike?” Hooker replied, “General Gibbon’s brigade of Western men.” McClellan stated, “They must be made of iron.”  Hooker said that the brigade had performed even more superbly at Second Bull Run; to this, McClellan said that the brigade consisted of the “best troops in the world.” Hooker supposedly was elated and rode off without his orders. They wore Hardee hats, making their appearance rather distinct:

Hardee Hat

Hardee Hat

Gamble’s Videttes (shown on the orders of battle in the Book 5 Notes)

The name references the outfit commanded by Brigadier General William Gamble during the American Civil War. At the time, Colonel Gamble’s brigade fell under Gen Buford’s cavalry. The actual videttes were led by Major John Beveridge who was raised in Northern Illinois and spent much of his childhood in DeKalb (home to the university I received my law degree from). In the opening day of the Gettysburg campaign, Gamble’s Videttes (along with all of Buford’s calvary) played key roles in slowing down the Army of Northern Virginia’s advance and bought precious time for Union divisions to arrive at the battlefield.

Varagian Guard (also on the orders of battle)

Actually, called Varangian Guard in history, this was a Byzantine Army composed mostly of Scandinavian peoples in the 10th through 14th centuries. The guard was reserved for use in only the most critical moments of a battle and were legendary berserkers.

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