Book Review: The Rashness of That Hour: Politics, Gettysburg, and the Downfall of Confederate Brigadier General Alfred Iverson


by Robert Wynstra

New York: Savas Beatie, 2010. Pp. xvi, 392. Illus., maps, appends., notes, biblio., index. $32.95. ISBN: 193271488X

A look the career and ultimate disgrace of Alfred Iverson, Jr., which throws light on command politics, sectionalism, and personality conflict in the Confederate Army.

Iverson (1829-1911), served as a volunteer in the Mexican War, returned to civilian life to become an attorney, but was commissioned in the U.S. Army in 1856.  He entered Confederate service upon the secession of Georgia.  In late 1862 Iverson was made a brigadier general and given a brigade of North Carolinians.  The result was considerable tension between the general and his troops and political acrimony that reached the Confederate Congress.  This all came to a head at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863, when Iverson’s brigade suffered devastating loses.  Amidst charges of treason, drunkenness, and worse, Iverson was stripped of his command and his career effectively ended.  Wynstra, a retired university administrator and lifelong student of the Civil War, has delved deeply into the events, and gives us a not only a look at Iverson’s career, but also the political, organizational, and tactical circumstances that led to his disgrace. 

The winner of several awards, The Rashness of That Hour is not only essential reading for those interested in Gettysburg, but for its insights into life and politics of the Confederate Army.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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