1st Vermont Brigade
W. T. H. Brooks--General
L. A. Grant--Colonel
The only brigade in the Army of the
Potomac, distinctively and permanently known by the name of its State, was the
First Vermont brigade. The title of "The Vermont Brigade" attached to it
chiefly, no doubt, because during most of its history it was the only Vermont
brigade ; but perhaps also in part because the Vermonters were recognized as
good fighters and because the men of this brigade illustrated the qualities
which gave to their ancestors their distinctive title of "Green Mountain Boys"
in the War of the Revolution.
The first suggestion of the formation of a brigade of Vermont regiments was made by General William F. Smith in the fall of 1861. Up to that time, and for some time after, it was not the policy of the government to brigade regiments of the same State together, the theory of the army authorities being that losses falling on brigades would be less felt if distributed over several States and that rivalry between regiments of different States in the same brigade would conduce to the efficiency of all. General Smith was allowed, however, by General McClellan, to organize his Vermont brigade ; and the success of the experiment was complete, as it was in the case of the similar State brigades of "Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, New Jersey and other troops.
In his first annual report under date of November 1, 1862, the adjutant-general of Vermont states that the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth regiments of state troops constituted the "Vermont Brigade," under command of General W. T. H. Brooks.