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Lee's Tar Heels The Pettigrew-Kirkland-MacRae Brigade by Earl J. Hess

Lee's Tar Heels The Pettigrew-Kirkland-MacRae Brigade

Part of the Civil War America Series


Lee's Tar Heels The Pettigrew-Kirkland-MacRae Brigade by Earl J. Hess

The Pettigrew-Kirkland-MacRae Brigade was one of North Carolina's best-known and most successful units during the Civil War. Formed in 1862, the brigade spent nearly a year protecting supply lines before being thrust into its first major combat at Gettysburg. There, James Johnston Pettigrew's men pushed back the Union's famed Iron Brigade in vicious fighting on July 1 and played a key role in Pickett's Charge on July 3, in the process earning a reputation as one of the hardest-fighting units in Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Despite suffering heavy losses during the Gettysburg campaign, the brigade went on to prove its valor in a host of other engagements. It marched with Lee to Appomattox and was among the last Confederate units to lay down arms in the surrender ceremony.Earl Hess tells the story of the men of the Pettigrew-Kirkland-MacRae Brigade, and especially the famous 26th North Carolina, chronicling the brigade's formation and growth under Pettigrew and its subsequent exploits under William W. Kirkland and William MacRae. Beyond recounting the brigade's military engagements, Hess draws on letters, diaries, memoirs, and service records to explore the camp life, medical care, social backgrounds, and political attitudes of these gallant Tar Heels. He also addresses the continuing debate between North Carolinians and Virginians over the failure of Pickett's Charge.


Using extensive research Earl J. Hess has produced a definitive and admirable history of one of the Army of Northern Virginia's great brigades. (Harry W. Pfanz, author of Gettysburg--The Second Day ) At Gettysburg and on through to Appomattox, the North Carolinians sculpted an admirable record. This good history of a good brigade tells their story in stirring fashion. (Robert K. Krick, author of Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain )

About the Author

Earl J. Hess is associate professor of history at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee, USA. He is author, most recently, of Pickett's Charge - The Last Attack at Gettysburg and Kennesaw Mountain: Sherman, Johnston, and the Atlanta Campaign.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th July 2015


Earl J. Hess

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The University of North Carolina Press


456 pages


American Civil War
History of the Americas
Military history



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