Cover image for Covered with glory : the 26th North Carolina Infantry at Gettysburg
Covered with glory : the 26th North Carolina Infantry at Gettysburg
Gragg, Rod.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, [2000]

Physical Description:
xvi, 304 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps, plans ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E475.53 .G72 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Here, fully told for the first time, is the unforgettable story of the 26th North Carolina Infantry at the Battle of Gettysburg. In July 1863 the regiment's eight-hundred-plus troops--young men from North Carolina's mountains, farmlands, and hamlets--were thrust into the firestorm of Gettysburg, the greatest battle ever fought in North America. By the time the fighting ended, the 26th North Carolina had suffered what some authorities would calculate to be the highest casualties of any regiment in the Civil War.

Following a bone-wearying march into Pennsylvania with the rest of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, the soldiers of the 26th found themselves in ferocious, almost face-to-face combat with some of the hardest-fighting troops in the Federal army--the heralded Iron Brigade. The bloody contest on McPherson's Ridge produced some of Gettysburg's fiercest fighting, and the troops involved--men from North Carolina, Michigan, and Indiana--established an enduring legacy ofAmerican fortitude and will.

On Gettysburg's third day of battle, the 26th North Carolina was placed in the front ranks of Pickett's Charge. Following a massive artillery barrage, the tattered regiment was commanded to go the distance in what would prove to be the most famous assault of the war. At one point, as he watched the men of the 26th in battle, Brigadier General James J. Pettigrew dispatched a message to the regiment's commander: "Tell him his regiment haas

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Regimental histories can have limited appeal, but Gragg's chronicle of a North Carolina regiment virtually wiped out at Gettysburg is an exception. The author's fine rendering of the 26th North Carolina's exploits there distinguishes his work from the regimental herd. In addition, he narrates well this formation's distinctiveness among Confederate units. Raised by one of the state's leading politicians, it was, by the patched-clothes standard of Lee's army, exceptionally well-drilled and well-equipped. Subsequently led by a 21-year-old slave owner (Boy Colonel of the Confederacy: The Life and Times of Henry King Burgwyn, Jr. [reprint 1998]), the 26th's soldiers were mostly hardscrabble farmers, few of them slave owners. After recounting the regiment's baptismal battles, Gragg forwards fate to 1 July 1863. Despite the reader's knowledge of impending doom, Gragg so dramatically modulates the 26th's assaults that one almost ducks in the armchair to avoid the shot and shell coming his or her way. A model for popularizing the regimental history genre. --Gilbert Taylor

Publisher's Weekly Review

On July 1, 1863, the 26th North Carolina Infantry marched toward Gettysburg with a strength of 843 officers and troops. Two days later, the regiment could muster only 156 soldiersÄa staggering loss of 81.5%, perhaps the highest casualty rate of any Civil War regiment, North or South. Gettysburg is one of the most written-about battles in history, but Gragg (Confederate Goliath, etc.) has mined a host of primary sources for this engrossing study and paints a detailed, vivid picture of the destruction of one of Robert E. Lee's largest units. Following a brief history of the 26th, Gragg follows the Tarheels north from Fredericksburg into Pennsylvania, then moves with the regiment to Herr's Ridge west of Gettysburg. From this vantage point, 21-year-old Colonel Henry K. Burgwyn Jr. led his superbly trained unit into the teeth of enemy fire from two Union Iron Brigade regiments. Although the 26th forced the Yankees back, Burgwyn was killed and the regiment was decimated as bearer after bearer of the unit's flag went down like chaff. After resting on July 2, the regiment took part in Pickett's Charge. Gragg's prose is at its best as he describes the time it took for the gray-clad battle line to cross the mile from Seminary Ridge to the Federal line on Cemetery Ridge, suffering casualties all the while. This exemplary book puts a human face on the 26th North Carolina's tragic loss at Gettysburg and is one of the most original titles on the battle to appear in the past few years. Maps not seen by PW. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Award-winning historian Gragg offers yet another Civil War title (see, e.g., The Civil War, 1861-1865). The 26th North Carolina saw action early in the war at New Bern and Malvern Hill. On the first day at Gettysburg, it fought against the 24th Michigan in McPherson's Woods. On the third and final day, it participated in the infamous Pickett's Charge and suffered an 85 percent casualty rate, the highest of any regiment in the Civil War. Besides recounting the enormous loss of life and the heroic deeds of many men, Gragg reveals the human side of battle. Family diaries and letters describe the difficulties most soldiers faced in coping with military life. The author uses an impressive list of other books and historical sources. What emerges is a detailed but readable history of a regiment whose sacrifices and exploits merit studying. Recommended for its scholarship and depth of coverage to all academic and large public libraries and to special collections.DDavid Alperstein, Queens Borough P.L., Jamaica, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.