Wilder's Brigade Mounted Infantry

††††††††††††††† Living History Society

††††††† The Lightning Brigade

†††††††††††††††††††††††††† Mounted Infantry

During the winter of 1862/1863 Colonel John T. Wilder was given the unenviable task of chasing down Morganís cavalry with regular infantry. Seeing the futility of the situation and being a progressive commander, Colonel Wilder requested that his infantry units be mounted. Federal cavalry was in short supply at this point in the war and Colonel Wilder was determined to overcome this problem. Wilderís first plan was to mount some of his regiment on the mules used to pull the regimental supply wagons. This proved disastrous to the poor souls attempting this, but very humorous for their comrades. Undeterred, Wilder requested permission to mount his regiment and in February of 1863 permission was granted. Wilder now went about the task of "acquiring" horses and mules for his men. He also went about equipping his men with the most advanced firearm available. This was the Spencer rifle Ė a seven shot, metallic cartridge, repeating rifle. In the hands of his regiments it turned the tide of a number of major engagements.

Wilderís brigade also known as the hatchet brigade and lightning brigade proved themselves in battle during the Tullahoma campaign. They went on to prove themselves in the capture of Chattanooga the battle of Chickamauga, the Atlanta campaign, Wilsonís raid and the capture of Macon.

The brigade consisted of the 17th and 72nd Indiana, the 123rd, 98th and 92nd Illinois and the 18th Indiana artillery battery.