Iverson did not participate at all in the Peninsula campaign. He at that time was colonel of the 20th Regiment N.C. Troops, stationed near Wilmington, N.C. In mid-June 1862 the 20th was ordered to Richmond and assigned to General Samuel Garland's Brigade. The regiment's first battle was Gaines' Mill in the Seven Days (June 27). Iverson was wounded in the very early stages of an extremely bloody charge on a Federal battery. The battery was captured by the 20th under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Franklin J. Faison, who was killed when one of the captured cannon exploded as the North Carolinians attempted to fire it at the fleeing Federals. Command of the regiment devolved upon Major William H. Toon, who led it at Malvern Hill. There is no evidence of serving with "distinction," or of incompetence, either.
He made a number of poor tactical decisions in the space of a very few minutes on Oak Hill, and his brigade paid for it. Lee, in that subtle Lee-ish way he had, simply got Iverson sent elsewhere.
Iverson proved a fairly good Cavalry commander in Georgia.
After the battle, embittered men of his brigade claimed he was drunk, or hiding behind trees. Apparently, this was more of a camp rumor than anything substantiated. However, Iverson was roundly disliked by his subordinates even before GB, and likely that antagonism was the source of those comments. Apparently, Iverson and most of his senior officers were feuding all winter over details of rank, etc.
Details of that feud, which is to Iverson's discredit, are recounted in Robert K. Krick's article, which I cited in my original post. It is far more likely, however, that the anatagomism toward Iverson by his subordinates was simply because his blundering resulted in about three-fourths of his brigade being made casualties, including nearly two hundred killed in action or died of wounds. His reputation is beyond resuscitation.
Esteemed member DPowell334@aol.com contributes:
In a message dated 97-02-26 07:03:49 EST, you write:
<< Iverson did not participate at all in the Peninsula campaign. He at that time was colonel of the 20th Regiment N.C. Troops, stationed near Wilmington, N.C. In mid-June 1862 the 20th was ordered to Richmond and assigned to General Samuel Garland's Brigade. The regiment's first battle was Gaines' Mill in the Seven Days (June 27). Iverson was wounded in the very early stages of an extremely bloody charge on a Federal battery. The battery was captured by the 20th under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Franklin J. Faison, who was killed when one of the captured cannon exploded as the North Carolinians attempted to fire it at the fleeing Federals. Command of the regiment devolved upon Major William H. Toon, who led it at Malvern Hill. There is no evidence of serving with "distinction," or of incompetence, either.
Not to be disputatious about it, but the distinction I was referring to was his being mentioned in both Jackson an DH Hill's reports - the equivilant of the British "mentioned in dispatches" quote that was often used to single out deserving officers.
Jackson (OR, Vol 11, pt 2, page 554.)
"...[DH Hill] ordered Colonel [Alfred] Iverson, with the Twentieth North Carolina and the First and Third North Carolina Regiments, to make the attack in front. The order was promptly and gallantly obeyed and carried into execution by Colonel Iverson with the Twentieth North Carolina. He was severely wounded in the advance."
DH Hill (OR, Vol 11. pt 2, page 625.)
Two Regiments of Elzey's Brigade (I think) were found seperated from their command, and these I ordered under my volunteer aide, Mr. Snydor, perfectly acquainted with the ground, to get in rear of the [enemy] battery, while the Twentieth North Carolina, Col. Alfred Iverson; Third North Carolina, Col, Gaston Meares; and the First North Carolina, commanded by Capt. H. A. Brown, were ordered to make a direct advance. Unfortunately, Colonel Iverson alone carried out his orders fully."
I don't dispute your assessment of Iverson, really, but don't feel the charges of personal cowardice have much substance. Krick's article reveals a man with much pettiness in him, I can understand why the men of the brigade detested him. He was a jerk: not a coward, is all..,
Esteemed member Greg Mast
Well I don't mind being a LITTLE disputatious, when it comes to Iverson.
Incidentally, what remained of Iverson's Brigade seems to have been commanded for the remainder of July 1 by Captain Don Halsey in his staff. Apparently Halsey, not Iverson, led some of the brigade (probably mostly the 12th North Carolina) in the pursuit of the enemy into town. Next day the men rested on West Middle Street in Gettysburg. On the evening of July 2 Rodess Division received orders to deploy southwest of town on Long Lane in order to undertake a night assault on Cemetery Hill. Fortunately, a reconnaissance by General Ramseur discovered the virtually impregnable strength of the Federal position, and Rodes canceled the attack.
With respect to Gaines' Mill: Sometime on the afternoon of June 27, D. H. Hill encountered Brigadier Generals George B. Anderson and Samuel Garland of his division "discussing with great enthusiam the propriety of attacking the Yankees in the flank." Evidently of great concern to the young generals was an enemy battery in a commanding or enfilading position.(If anyone can provide the identity and precise location of this battery, I would be grateful.) Garland expressed a willingness to attack and risk the battery's fire. Hill, however, decided to eliminate the threat. He directed the 20th North Carolina of Garland's Brigade, and the 1st and 3rd Regiments N.C. State Troops of Roswell Ripley's Brigade to attack it. The latter two "rushed forward, but because of bad leading, they failed quickly and fell back panting." If I can quote myself here: "The 20th North Carolina, however, charged on alone, losing approximately three hundred men before overrunning the battery. Although the regiment was eventually compelled to retire, the capture of Federal funs was crucial to the outcome of the battle. 'Heavy as was this loss,' General Hill reported, 'no doubt a greater loss was saved to the division . . . by this gallant attack. The temporary silence of the battery enabled the division to move up in fine style and turn the tide of battle in our favor.' The 20th North Carolina suffered 107 men killed or mortally wounded in its charge at Gaines' Mill, a cost in dead that was surpassed on only four other occasions during the war by North Carolina regiments." By way of comparison, the greatest number of killed and mortally wounded in a Federal regiment at Gettysburg was 67 men (24th Michigan; cited from Busey and Martin, _Regimental Strengths and Losses at Gettysburg_).
The scope of the carnage endured by the 20th North Carolina at Gaines' Mill seems to have escaped the notice of all historians of the Seven Days battles, including Sears, Freeman, and Dowdey. Incredibly, the regiment was sent back into the meat grinder four days later at Malvern Hill and lost another 44 killed or mortally wounded.
Now to Iverson's role in all of this: General Garland (to whose brigade the 20th belonged) states in his report on the Seven Days: "Colonel Iverson was seriously wounded at an early period while gallantly leading up his regiment to take the battery at the house on the left at Cold Harbor. . . . The Twentieth North Carolina, after Colonel Iverson was wounded, was led by Lieut. Col. Franklin J. Faison. It advanced gallantly and took the battery, which it held for ten minutes. The gallant Faison received a mortal wound in the very act of turning one of the captured pieces upon the fleeing foe and breathed out his noble spirit in the moment of victory."
Which return me to my original point, that Iverson's behaviour was neither distinguished not undistinguished. D. H. Hill, despite his acerbic reputation, was unusually generous to his subordinates in his post-battle reports (see his Sharpsburg report, for another example). It would be interesting to see if there were any regimental commanders in his division at Seven Days that he did NOT mention!
Sources for Gaines Mill: v _Official Records_, ser. 1, 11, pt. 2:625-626, 640-642. Mast, _State Troops and Volunteers_, 1:317. mortality database, 20th Regiment N.C. Troops, compiled from Manarin and Jordan _North Carolina Troops_ and National Archives microfilms.