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Holmes Brigade, USV, Inc.

A Premier Civil War Federal Infantry Living History Organization


  "Just a quarter mile more..."


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Why the Holmes Brigade?

   Year 2000 represents the 20th anniversary of the Homes Brigade reenacting unit. Since that humble beginning, the Union cause in the Missouri area has prospered. Our special friends – those who enjoy our company and share our outlook on authentic reenacting – are always welcome in our ranks.

   Many of these friends, as well as recent brigade members, have asked the origin of the name "Holmes Brigade."  The title of our unit was chosen to reflect our purpose in organizing it and our goals in reenacting. We wanted to bring together the many small squad and platoon size Federal infantry organizations in the Missouri area to brigade together as an authentic-size company with a stable command structure.  Our goal was to portray a typical Western company and to change our impression as necessary to suit each event.

   First, we needed a name.  We discussed adopting a generic name, but decided to opt for a historical designation that would give our many historians a focal point for their research.  Three criteria were decided upon:

  1. A brigade with a varied Midwestern composition;
  2. A brigade that enjoyed a stable composition for a long period of time;
  3. A brigade whose war experience was typical of most Western units.

   A search through Dyer's Compendium of the War of the Rebellion led us to the unit whose name we now bear.  Although it probably never had an official "name"--only the usual numerical designation--we named it for Colonel Samuel Holmes of the 10th Missouri Volunteer Infantry, the man who led the brigade during the Vicksburg Campaign, one of the most active periods of its existence.

   The original brigade was formed in May of 1862 from the 10th Missouri, E--24th Missouri, 80th Ohio, 56th Illinois, and the 17th Iowa. Later in the war it would include the 26th Missouri and the 10th Iowa.  During the war, the brigade saw action at Iuka, Corinth, Port Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion's Hill, Vicksburg, Missionary Ridge, and went with Sherman on the march to the sea and through the Carolinas. Company E of the 24th MO and the 17th Iowa were captured defending the railroad during Hood's invasion of Tennessee.

   During the war the original units suffered the following battle deaths:   10 Mo.--l0l; 56th Ill.--27; 17th Iowa--71; 80th Ohio--52 (no separate returns for E, 24th Ho.).

   All-in-all a very average unit.  The units had their hard battles as well as their long dreary months guarding railroads.  They were typical--exactly the type of soldiers that we in the Holmes Brigade of today seek to recreate.   I think that Sam Holmes would have been proud of us.

(Taken from the Holmes Brigade Dispatch, Volume V, Number 4, November 1986, by Bill Fannin)