Colonel Wilder was a remarkable man in that he was willing to consider unconventional methods to protect his men and turn them into one of the most effective fighting forces the world had ever seen to that point.
His troops were infantry and fought on foot, but when he was charged with chasing John Hunt-Morgan's cavalry, he petitioned his superiors to allow him to mount his men in order to make them more mobile.
Perhaps even more significant, Wilder armed his men with Spencer repeating rifles. This enabled his men to shoot seven times faster than their opponents with single-shot muzzle-loading rifles. Wilder's Indiana and Illinois troops showed their rifles' superiority at the Battle of Hoover's Gap and at Chickamauga.
Having recently visited the Chickamauga Battlefield, I was eager to learn more about this interesting brigade and its fearless commander. He was so beloved by his men, they erected in his honor the only privately funded monument at the Chickamauga Battlefield. The tower stands 85 feet tall on a rise near Widow Glenn's home.
|Wilder Monument - Chickamauga|
|The view across Glenn Field toward Brotherton Field from the top of the Wilder Monument|