"General Lee's Immortals," Michael Hardy

Sep 3 2019 - 7:00pm

The Brunswick Civil War Round Table is pleased to begin its new season of monthly meetings on Tuesday, September 3rd with an unusual and seldom written account of the Branch-Lane Brigade. This topic will be presented by guest historian and scholar, Michael Hardy. His presentation is entitled, “General Lee’s Immortals.”

Two decades after the end of the Civil War, former Confederated officer Riddick Gatlin bewailed the lack of a history of the famous Branch-Lane Brigade, within which he served. “Who has ever written a line to tell of the sacrifices, the suffering and the ending of these more than immortal men?” he said. “Why has the history of that brigade not been written?” In fact, it has now been written and published under the title, “General Lee’s Immortals: The Battles and Campaigns of the Branch-Lane Brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia, 1861 - 1865.”  

This storied brigade, first led by Lawrence Branch until his death at Sharpsburg, and then James H. Lane, served with Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia during its entire existence. The names emblazoned on its battle flag read like a history of that army, beginning with the Seven Days’ Battles and ending with the final roll call at Appomattox. Originally part of A.P. Hill’s famous “Light” Division, the Branch-Lane Brigade earned spectacular plaudits for its disciplined defense, hard-hitting attacks, and incredible marching abilities. Its constant position at the front, however, resulted in devastating losses, so that its roll call of casualties by the end of the war far exceeded its number of survivors.

The guest speaker, Michael Hardy, is an independent scholar of the Civil War and Southern Appalachian history. The author of twenty books, he was honored as the North Carolina Historian of the Year by the North Carolina Society of Historians in 2010, and received the 2012 Alice Parker Award for Outstanding Literature and Arts from his alma mater, the University of Alabama.

Hardy teaches writing and history continuing education classes at Maryland Community College. In 2013, he became a Roads Scholar for the North Carolina Humanities Council. His articles have appeared in America’s Civil War, Civil War Times, North & South, Gettysburg Magazine, and the Tar Heel Jr. Historians. In 2012, he penned the forward to New York Times-best-selling author Sharyn McCrumb’s re-released novel, Ghost Riders. He is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.