Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia September 8,1862 - History

Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia September 8,1862 - History

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To The People of Maryland: It is right that you should know the purpose that has brought the army under my command within the limits of your State, so far as that purpose concerns yourselves.

The people of the Confederate States have long watched, with the deepest sympathy, the wrongs and outrages that have been inflicted upon the citizens of a Commonwealth allied to the States of the South by the strongest social, political, and commercial ties, and reduced to the condition of a conquered province.

Under the pretense of supporting the Constitution, hut in violation of its most valuable provisions, your citizens have been arrested and imprisoned upon no charge, and contrary to the forms of law.

A faithful and manly protest against this outrage, made by a venerable and illustrious Marylander, to whom in his better days no citizen appealed for right in vain, was treated with scorn and contempt.

The government of your chief city has been usurped by armed strangers; your Legislature has been dissolved by the unlawful arrest of its members; freedom of the press and of speech has been suppressed; words have been declared offenses by an arbitrary decree of the Federal Executive; and citizens ordered to be tried by military commissions for what they may dare to speak.

Believing that the people of Maryland possess a spirit too lofty to submit to such a Government, the people of the South have long wished to aid you in throwing off this foreign yoke, to enable you again to enjoy He inalienable rights of freemen, and restore the independence and sovereignty of your State.

In obedience to this wish, our army has come among you, and is prepared to assist you with the power of its arms in regaining the rights of which you have been so unjustly despoiled.

This, citizens of Maryland, is our mission, so far as you are concerned. No restraint upon your free-will is intended; no intimidation will be allowed within the limits of this army at least. Marylanders shall once more enjoy their ancient freedom of thought and speech. We know no enemies among you, and will protect all of you in every opinion.

It is for you to decide your destiny freely and without constraint. This army will respect your choice, whatever it may be; and while the Southern people will rejoice to welcome you to your natural position among them, they will only welcome you when you come of your own free will.

R. E. LEE, General, Commanding

[27.0] September 1862 (1): Will Send You Trophies

* Following the defeat and humiliation of John Pope at the Second Battle of Bull Run, George McClellan returned to the command of Union Army forces in the East. He quickly restored order to the defeated army and set out in pursuit of Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia, now moving north after their victory to threaten the cities of the Union.

* The full impact of the Union defeat at Bull Run became obvious as stragglers drifted into Washington. They were ragged, shoeless, and had nothing to eat in days. A column of pathetic wounded men was trickling in as well. Some order was made of the confusion, and the seized carriages and cabs and carts were organized into trains to ferry supplies and the injured to their proper destinations.

With a rebel army on the prowl, panic began to rise. Secretary Stanton had given orders to move the contents of the city's arsenal to New York City so that the weapons and ammunition would not fall into Confederate hands, and War Department papers were being bundled up so they could be removed quickly. The sale of liquor had been prohibited government clerks were being armed and formed up into companies Union gunboats were anchored in the Potomac and Stanton had a steamer standing by to evacuate the President and other Administration officials, if it came to that.

It was Tuesday, 2 September 1862. The torrential rainfall that had doused the combatants at Chantilly the afternoon before had left puddles ankle-deep in the streets, but the skies were sunny that morning when Mr. Lincoln and General Halleck came to General McClellan's house. There the President asked McClellan to take charge of the city and the scattered soldiers falling back into it.

It happened just as McClellan had forseen: " Bien ." But it wasn't good. Mr. Lincoln had, like many others, come to the conclusion that McClellan had wanted Pope to fail. Reinforcements had been sent forward in a way that seemed indifferent at best, and the President had hardly forgotten McClellan's astonishingly dense remark about leaving Pope "to get out of his scrape" as best he could. McClellan's resurrection hadn't just "happened". McClellan had done much to make it happen.

In fact, McClellan had been maneuvering for position even as Pope's fall was in progress. He had wired Halleck on 31 August: When the full dimensions of the disaster became apparent, Halleck replied: John Hay perceived that the President thought McClellan a little crazy, but there was simply no alternative to him. Pope was as defeated as his army, the wind had been completely knocked out of him, and whatever hopes Mr. Lincoln had placed in Halleck had been proven false. Mr. Lincoln would describe Halleck to John Hay as "little more than a first-rate clerk." The President said of McClellan: "We must use the tools we have. There is no man in the Army who can man these fortifications and lick these troops into shape half as well as he . if he can't fight himself, he excels in making others ready to fight." If McClellan had made the Army of the Potomac to a degree his personal instrument, an unacceptable situation for the Commander-in-Chief, that fact alone made McClellan indispensable in the current crisis.

Mr. Lincoln had made the decision on his own, and only after it was done did he announce it to his Cabinet. Stanton was shocked. He had been petitioning the other Cabinet members to push through an ultimatum demanding that McClellan be permanently removed from any authority. Stanton was expecting to court-martial McClellan, not reinstate him to command. Stanton said, trembling: "No order to that effect has been issued from the War Department." Mr. Lincoln replied: "The order is mine, and I will be responsible for it to the country." Chase proclaimed that restoring the general was "equivalent to giving Washington to the rebels." Montgomery Blair said that Stanton and Chase would have preferred the loss of Washington to the reinstatement of McClellan.

* That afternoon, McClellan and some of his staff rode down the road to Centerville towards the battleground as soldiers drifted back up the road toward him. He halted them and ordered them to fall into ranks. Soon he encountered a cavalry regiment, with Pope and McDowell "sandwiched in their midst", as McClellan put it. The defeated generals were tired, dirty, and demoralized. "I never saw a more helpless-looking headquarters," McClellan said. He rode up to them, erect on his big black horse, dapper with a yellow sash around his waist, snapped off a salute to them, and informed them he had been put in charge of the army.

Suddenly there was a dull thump of artillery on the horizon. "What was that?" McClellan asked. Pope suggested it was an attack on Sumner's corps, guarding their flank, and asked if General McClellan would mind if Pope and McDowell rode off to Washington? McClellan replied, almost cheerfully: "Not at all, but for myself I am going to ride to the sound of the firing and see what is going on in the way of fighting." McClellan would have been scarcely human had he not wanted to gloat a little.

There were others in the crowd who didn't want to stop at a little gloating. General Hatch, who had been relieved of duty north of Gordonsville at the beginning of the whole campaign, had been put in charge of Rufus King's division when King's epilepsy became too severe to allow him to remain in command. Hatch had ridden up to listen in on this exchange, and, feeling he had a score to settle with Pope, shouted out loud: "Boys, McClellan is in command of the army again! Three cheers!"

There was a moment's confusion as the words soaked in, and then like a slow wave the cheering started, rising into mass frenzy. The soldiers, their burdens lifted for the moment, threw their caps and knapsacks into the air, embraced each other with joy, shouted themselves hoarse. The news filtered back along the column with the same electrical results, men instantly restored to excitement after the crushing experience they had been through: McClellan had returned.

* In the meantime, Halleck had issued the formal order giving McClellan the reins: "Major General McClellan will have command of the fortifications of Washington and of all the troops for the defense of the capital." Pope's Army of Virginia was no more, and his corps were now incorporated into the Army of the Potomac. The next day, Wednesday, 3 September, the President ordered Halleck to prepare the army for active operations, and Halleck passed the word on to McClellan.

McClellan quickly moved to put things in order, just as he had after the first battle of Bull Run, over a year ago. Whatever his other limitations, his efficiency and skill at management issues was undeniable. The streets and saloons and whorehouses where milling with demoralized soldiers they were rounded up and sent back to duty, and those who were too hopeless or had no organization left to report to were sent to an improvised "convalescent camp" in Alexandria. The camp was little more than a dumping ground for the army's misfits, but at least it got them off the streets.

The wounded were attended to as well as could be managed. They drifted back during the week, often in very sad condition. Hundreds had spent a rainy and miserable night lying in straw in a field around Fairfax Court House, attended to by a handful of doctors and a few earnest nurses, including Clara Barton. More carriages were seized on the street to provide transportation for the wounded. The Prussian ambassador was left standing on the street when his carriage was taken from him. Secretary of State Seward quickly put safeguards in place to keep such insults from happening again. An enlisted man even tried to take the President's barouche from him, only to be stopped by a horrified sergeant. Mr. Lincoln replied that the man was only doing his duty.

McClellan seemed to work miracles, though in fact the blow the army had taken at Bull Run, though very painful, was far from lethal. The men were just disorganized, and they were collectively soldiers enough to seek organization if there were someone credible in charge to provide it. On Thursday, 4 September, McClellan sent out advance units to find the enemy, who were now believed to be moving north. On Friday 5 September the army marched, six corps, 84,000 strong, to intercept the Confederates who had been reported moving north towards Maryland.

The demoralized soldiers cluttering the streets into the week had left a bad impression on the citizens that would not easily be dispelled, but the townsfolk were impressed as the Army of the Potomac came marching through the town, in prefect order, well-drilled and equipped for battle. Their weapons and kit and uniforms were worn by service in the field, and the shiny gleam that they had a year before was gone. In its place was a core of resolve. They were not marched past the White House. Instead, they were routed past McClellan's house, where they issued great cheers for their commander. Two corps, Heintzelman's and Sigel's, were left behind under the command of Nathaniel Banks to defend Washington. The next evening citizens were startled to see soldiers resting on the White House lawn, with the President moving among them, serving them water with a pail and dipper.

* While the army marched, the Administration considered what to do with the losers. Pope got a dispatch on Friday, 5 September: "The Armies of the Potomac and Virginia being consolidated, you will report for orders to the Secretary of War." He reported, and was immediately ordered to go to the Northwest and suppress the Indian uprising. He would be in Saint Paul before the month was out, effectively removed from the real war for the duration.

Pope didn't go quietly. He had a score to settle with the generals who, he perceived, had worked against him during the campaign. He conveniently forgot, if it ever even dawned on him, the fact that he had done much to sow such dissension in the first place. Secretary Stanton backed Pope in his vindictiveness. Since McClellan was out of their reach, they attacked his "family" instead, in the form of his trusted lieutenant, Major General Fitz-John Porter. Porter was too close to McClellan had been too vocal in his contempt for Pope and Pope regarded Porter's refusal to move up to the firing line as clear insubordination. The last was preposterous, since Porter's men would have been slaughtered and Longstreet's screaming troops had given Pope highly convincing proof that Porter had been telling the truth. Pope was never big on logic, particularly if it was inconvenient to him. Porter quickly found himself preparing for a court-martial.

McDowell was another bureaucratic casualty of the disaster at Bull Run. While he had conducted himself as best he could in the battle and got nothing but praise from Pope, and though a board of inquiry exonerated him of the ridiculous charges of drunkenness and treason that were leveled at him, almost all the soldiers hated him and there was no way he could lead them into combat. He would never get another command in the field.

* That lay shortly in the future. In the present, the Army of the Potomac was marching to battle, but officially there was no leader at the head of their columns. McClellan's orders had only specified command of the defenses of Washington. That was only bureaucracy, however, and in fact McClellan was still the commander of the Army of the Potomac. After all, no order had ever been issued relieving him. Field command had been offered to Burnside, who had energetically refused it, and there was no other choice. General Halleck and Mr. Lincoln engaged in an odd game of finger-pointing as to who would give the order putting McClellan in charge. The result was that McClellan never got an official order at all. He went ahead with what instructions he had, though he believed that if the Army of the Potomac were defeated he would be held responsible and possibly even hanged. Given some of the hysteria in high places, it was hard to say McClellan was being unrealistic.

That Sunday evening, 7 September, Navy Secretary Gideon Welles and his son Edgar were walking the streets of the town, when they were passed by McClellan and his staff. Welles saluted McClellan, and McClellan pulled his horse over to the sidewalk to give his respects. Welles asked where they were going. McClellan replied that they were off to take command of the forces marching from the city. Welles was no great admirer of McClellan, but was not inclined to be petty: "Well, onward, General, is now the word the country will expect you to go forward." McClellan replied that was his intention.

"Success to you, then, General, with all my heart," Welles replied sincerely. Although the injuries, both imagined and very real, McClellan had received in the past from his political superiors could hardly be forgotten, he left the city with a blessing that he might desperately need.

* Lee had written Jefferson Davis on Wednesday, 3 September, from Chantilly, opening his message with: "The present seems to be the most propitious time since the commencement of the war for the Confederate Army to enter Maryland." His reasoning was of logic and necessity, as it had been through the summer. His forces were worn and tattered by the victories they had won, and short on food, clothing, ammunition, and other supplies, but the Army of Northern Virginia faced three difficult choices: they could either withdraw stay where they were or advance.

While withdrawing would allow Lee to rest and refit his exhausted soldiers, it would also abandon the initiative obtained in the last week, and it was just as obvious to Lee then as it had been earlier that time worked for the Union army and not the rebels. Given time, the Federals would mass in such strength that the Confederacy would be certainly doomed.

Staying where they were wasn't an option, either. Again, it would abandon the initiative to the Federals, and besides, there were no supplies or provisions available in the area, which had been picked clean by marauding armies.

That only left the offensive. Washington was a desireable but impossible target. The defenses were extensive and well-constructed, and the Army of the Potomac was there. McClellan could not have conceived of anything more convenient to the Federal cause than for Lee to attack Washington. However, with the Army of the Potomac in a disorganized state, Maryland was wide open. Even if Lee could not defeat the Federals in battle there, such a movement would have many benefits. He could obtain food and forage from the Maryland countryside by putting the Yankees on the defensive, he could forestall another advance on Richmond before the winter set in, and also allow Virginians to get their crops in unmolested. Lee wrote: "We cannot afford to be idle, and though weaker than our opponents in men and military equipments, must endeavor to harass them if we cannot destroy them."

Furthermore, many Marylanders were fighting in the Army of Northern Virginia, and a Confederate presence in the state might attract many thousands of badly needed recruits. The shock of the invasion would also increase war weariness in the North, as well as improve the prospects of foreign recognition. The rebel victories since the end of June were receiving considerable publicity in Great Britain and France, and a successful campaign on Northern soil might just convince them that the Confederacy was a going thing.

On 4 September, Lee send a telegram to Jefferson Davis explaining that he intended to proceed, and without waiting for approval put the Army of Northern Virginia on the march northward, moving to the town of Leesburg and then beyond to White's Ford, where the Potomac cut through mountains and his men could walk across the river. The first units made it there on Thursday, 6 September 1862. The rebels continued their crossing for three more days.

Roughly 50,000 men made the crossing. While Lee had received about 20,000 reinforcements from Richmond, he lost about 15,000 from straggling and desertion. Many of his men were sick, exhausted, and could not keep up some of the soldiers from northern Virginia found the proximity of their homes too much to be resisted and some North and South Carolinans, fighting against the injustice of aggression against their own home states, wanted no part of aggression against another. The men who remained were the hard core. They would stand and fight even against terrible odds. "None but heroes are left," one of them wrote his family.

* The Confederates assembled near Frederick, Maryland, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Washington. The enthusiastic reception they had expected from Marylanders didn't materialize. Confederate sympathy was strong in Baltimore and the tidewater regions of the state, but farther inland the temperament was Unionist, and only a few sympathizers waved little Confederate flags. Some of the citizens set out buckets of water or even gave up their shoes, but these were more acts of sympathy for the raggedyness of Lee's men than for their cause. In one small town a rebel soldier noted that "the houses were all shut up & nearly all the people we saw looked as though they had lost a dear friend."

A loyalist woman wrote of the Confederates: "I asked myself in amazement, were these dirty, lank, ugly specimens of humanity the men that had driven back again and again our splendid legions with their fine discipline, their martial show and colour? I felt humiliated at the thought that this horde of ragamuffins could set our grand army of the Union at defiance. Oh! They are so dirty! I don't think the Potomac River could wash them clean!" A Maryland boy said much the same: "They were the dirtiest men I ever saw, a most ragged, lean and hungry set of wolves." But he could not help adding: "Yet there was dash about them that the northern men lacked. They rode like circus riders. Many of them were from the far South and spoke a dialect I could scarcely understand. They were profane beyond belief and talked incessantly."

They were dirty, but their rifles were clean and their cartridge boxes full. They were shoeless, ragged, half-starved, ill, but still tough, smart fighters. Alfred Waud, a war artist from HARPER'S WEEKLY, was in the custody of Jeb Stuart's cavalry troopers for a short time, and described them as homely in dress but well-equipped, carrying carbines "mostly captured from our own cavalry, for whom they expressed utter contempt."

Their leaders were fighters as well, but they had been having a peculiar spell of bad luck. On 31 August, while the rain was pouring down and the Federals were in retreat from Manassas, Lee had been standing by his horse, Traveler, when a cry came up: "Yankee cavalry!" The horse had been startled, Lee had turned to grab the reins, and tripped and fell in his clumsy rain gear. He broke a bone in one hand and badly sprained the other. He rode north in an ambulance, with both hands in bandages. Stonewall Jackson ended up in an ambulance as well. After crossing the Potomac, some friendly Marylanders had given him a big gray mare that threw him, giving him a painful back injury. Longstreet was hobbling around wearing a carpet slipper, having obtained a big blister on his heel.

John Bell Hood and A.P. Hill were having problems of a different sort. They were both under arrest. Robert Toombs had returned to the Army of Northern Virginia when the charges made against him by Jackson were dropped. He arrived in time to gain some of the glory of the victory at Manassas, but got into a dispute with Hood over some captured ambulances. Hood was ordered to give the ambulances to Toombs, but the Texan stubbornly refused. Longstreet had him relieved of command pending a trial, but Lee ordered Hood to accompany his division anyway. Stonewall Jackson was also still on A.P. Hill's back. When Jackson interfered with the march of Hill's division, Hill angrily offered to resign on the spot. Jackson told him he was under arrest. It seemed that the Army of Northern Virginia was marching North with a hand tied behind its back.

* The Confederates tried to charm the Marylanders as best they could. Lee composed a proclamation inviting them to add their strength to the Confederate cause, and Stuart staged a ball on Monday the 8th in a deserted school building, only to dash off to repel a Federal probe, then to return with stories of adventure for the pretty young ladies present. There was little response to either measure, and Lee quickly decided that his army had to move on.

As usual, he was thinking big. His clear immediate target was Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, near the Susquehanna River. A key bridge of the Pennsylvania Railroad ran over that river, and destroying that bridge would effectively cut the Union in two: reinforcements from the West would not be able to reach the East by rail except by the most roundabout route. Once this was done, he could attack Philadelphia, Baltimore, or even Washington. With a rebel army rampaging through their cities, the Union would be forced to sue for peace.

The only problem he could see was that there were two Federal forces in a position to threaten his supply line to the south: 12,000 Federals in occupation of Harper's Ferry, 16 miles (26 kilometers) away, and 2,500 Yankees at Martinsburg, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) farther west along the railroad line beyond Harper's Ferry. Lee had assumed these two garrisons would be evacuated immediately once he moved north, but the War Department had perversely told them to hold their ground, even though McClellan realized their vulnerability and had pleaded for them to be withdrawn. These garrisons would have to be eliminated before the big push north could take place.

McClellan's concern over the garrisons was well founded. The force at Martinsburg was too small to put up effective resistance, and Harper's Ferry was laid out more like a trap than a fortress. There were heights on all sides of the town except the southwest: Maryland Heights above the Potomac to the northeast, Loudoun Heights across the Shenandoah to the southeast, and Bolivar Heights to the northwest.

Lee had been having such good luck in dividing his forces that he decided to do it again. Jackson, who had by now recovered from his back injury, was to lead three divisions in a roundabout route well up the Potomac, march them across the river, capture or drive out the garrison at Martinsburg, and then occupy Bolivar Heights. General Lafayette McLaws would take two divisions by the direct route to Maryland Heights, and General John G. Walker would similarly move directly to Loudoun Heights. The Federal garrison in Harper's Ferry would then be effectively surrounded and have to surrender.

Longstreet was strongly opposed to the plan. They had got away with dividing their army once in the face of a stronger force. Doing it in the enemy's back yard was pushing their luck. Jackson, on the other hand, was enthusiastic, and in any case, boxing in the Yankees at Harper's Ferry effectively required the separation of forces. Lee set the plan in motion by issuing Special Order 191 on 9 September, instructing the various commands in their movements.

Lee was, for the moment, not highly concerned about superior enemy forces in the vicinity, despite the fact that the newspapers revealed McClellan was back in command and Stuart had observed the Federals on the march towards Frederick. When Walker expressed astonishment at the risks Lee was taking, Lee replied that McClellan was "an able general, but a very cautious one. His enemies among his own people think him too much so. His army is in a very demoralized and chaotic condition, and will not be prepared for offensive operations (or he will not think it so) for three or four weeks. Before that time I hope to be on the Susquehanna."

Special Order 191 pinpointed the locations of the different elements of the commands for the next several days, and the order was handled carefully by its recipients. Jackson personally copied the order and had it sent to D.H. Hill, who read it and locked it away. What neither man knew was that Hill had also been sent an official copy of the same order. It never got to him. Through some process it ended up in the pocket of an anonymous staff officer, who used it to wrap three cigars.

* On Wednesday, 10 September, Lee's army marched through the streets of Frederick on the way to their objectives. People lined the streets, with young women waving flags, both Union and Confederate. One buxom young lady had the Stars & Stripes pinned to her dress, causing a witty Louisiana soldier to call out: "Look h'yar, miss, better take that flag down -- we're awful fond of charging breastworks!" His fellows laughed. The girl blushed and smiled.

Brigadier General Howell Cobb of Longstreet's command, one of the Confederacy's founding fathers, was recognized by Unionists and loudly jeered. He returned the compliments, threatening to come back after they beat McClellan and put the Unionists in jail. Simply trading insults was not his style, however. He was stump politician, and when he came upon a young girl waving a rebel flag, he used it as an occasion to deliver an impromptu and eloquent speech in praise of the Confederate cause that had the crowd applauding him with amusement.

The Confederate occupation of Frederick did lead to one odd matter of consequence. According to one version of the story, a small child ran into the house of 95-year-old Barbara Frietchie and shouted: "Look out for your flag, the troops are coming!" Thinking the child meant Union soldiers, she ran to the door and began waving a small American flag when the soldiers started cat-calling her, she realized her error, but kept on waving it anyway. The soldiers were annoyed and let her know, but a Confederate officer simply told Frietchie: "Go on, Granny, wave your flag as much as you please." The woman became a local heroine for this little incident, and then the story spread and grew in the telling, to the point where the New England poet John Greenleaf Whittier wrote a poem glorifying how Frietchie had personally defied Stonewall Jackson at the risk of her life: It was all overblown nonsense, of course. According to another story, she had simply waved the flag at McClellan's troops arriving two days later. Confederate papers complained, but it became one of the enduring little stories of the war.

* Inflated stories were only to be expected. Rumor and hysteria were running wild in the North. Halleck had forbidden reporters to travel with the Army of the Potomac while enterprising newspapermen proved clever at evading this ban, aided in many cases by publicity-hungry generals, the newsmen did not have access to military telegraphs, and the War Department itself wasn't saying anything. In the absence of any real news, there was nothing to constrain public fears.

Baltimore was in something of an uproar. The city's secessionists, long suppressed by Federal authority, were excited at the prospect of liberation, but the place was under the military jurisdiction of old Major General John Wool, since moved up from Fort Monroe. Though Wool might be a little shaky he was still full of fight, and would defend the city for the Union from threats within and without with every means at his disposal.

In contrast, Philadelphia was completely defenseless and the citizens there were extremely agitated. There was nothing Mr. Lincoln could do but reassure them, telling them that the rebels were far away, and that the best thing to do was to seek out Lee's army and attack it, not send troops to ring every nervous township.

Pennsylvania Governor Andrew G. Curtin was busily calling up the state militia and doing everything he could to prepare for a Confederate invasion. Pennsylvania had a lot of regiments in the Army of the Potomac, so Curtin was owed a lot of favors in Washington. He had called them in, and to keep him happy General Halleck sent, over the objections of Generals McClellan and Hooker, General John Reynolds, a Pennsylvanian, to Harrisburg to direct the defense of the state for its government.

* Lee was completely mistaken in believing that the Army of the Potomac was in a chaotic and demoralized condition. It was neither. Under McClellan's leadership, they had reformed their ranks and were in good fighting trim. His estimate of McClellan's cautiousness was perfectly accurate, however. McClellan had been advancing slowly, marching not much more than 6 miles (10 kilometers) a day, and by Thursday, 11 September, his army was no closer than 15 miles (24 kilometers) to Frederick.

Poor military intelligence was much of the problem. Stuart's troopers had been easily frustrating the clumsy Union cavalry, and McClellan didn't even know the rebels had been in Frederick until after they had left. Pinkerton was also continuing to provide his usual bizarre estimates of enemy strength, assessing the size of rebel forces in Virginia as up to 200,000 men. The cavalry gave pretty much the same report, aided by stories provided by exciteable civilians who in many cases had been fed wild tales by amused Confederates.

McClellan swallowed such overestimates readily. He figured the strength of Lee's invasion force at around 120,000. By this time, skepticism about such figures was becoming widespread. On 8 September, the NEW YORK TRIBUNE ran an article entitled "A Glimpse Behind Enemy Lines" by a commonsense reporter who had interrogated rebel prisoners and paroled Union men to build his own estimates. The reporter concluded: "The enemy has had no more men, not so much ordnance, nor provisions, nor nearly so much encumbering baggage but he has outgeneraled us . this is the plain, unvarnished truth: we have been whipped by an inferior force of inferior men, better handled than our own."

Other newspapers still took the inflated figures at face value. McClellan never doubted he was greatly outnumbered, and as usual was calling for reinforcements. Halleck was also sending him messages warning him that the rebel move was possibly a feint, intended to draw off the Army of the Potomac to allow an attack on Washington. Given that there were tens of thousands of soldiers men still in the city under Banks and the place was well-fortified, it is hard to see why Halleck was distressed except for the fact that he was Halleck.

McClellan did feel obligated to ensure that Washington was properly protected, so his forces advanced in three wings to cover the city: a center wing under Major General Sumner moving directly towards Frederick, a southern wing under Major General Franklin moving along the Maryland shore of the Potomac, and a northern wing under Major General Burnside moving along the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.

The soldiers were enjoying the leisurely march, as the weather was splendid and the country pleasant. The Unionist locals greeted the soldiers warmly and gave them gifts of food and drink. The foraging was also good. A regimental colonel told a lieutenant on no account "let two of your men go out and get one of those sheep for supper!" The lieutenant replied: "No sir!" -- but their diligence went for nothing, the soldiers had mutton stew for dinner that night anyway. The top brass vigorously discouraged such thievery and in many cases the soldiers paid for what they took, since they had accrued pay during their months on the Peninsula and weren't hurting for cash. Unfortunately, the temptations were many, the obstacles few, and the Marylanders found the Federal soldiers worse thieves than the Confederates.

* On the evening of Thursday, 11 September, McClellan finally got reliable word that Lee had departed from Frederick, and ordered Burnside to get his soldiers there quickly. An advance unit approached the town on the morning of Friday the 12th, to encounter a rear guard of rebel cavalry under Wade Hampton. The Federals drove them back into Frederick, but Union cavalry pursued them a little too closely, were bloodied, and lost some men as prisoners, including the commander of the cavalry detachment, Colonel Augustus Moor. The Confederates then pulled out completely in the face of Yankee infantry moving into the streets of the town.

No sooner had the shooting died away than the townspeople materialized to greet the Union soldiers warmly, waving flags and giving them food. When McClellan himself rode into Frederick on his horse Dan Webster at about 9:00 AM the next morning, Saturday 13 September, he was mobbed: women gave him their babies to kiss, hugged his horse (someone tied a little American flag to the bridle), kissed his uniform, decked both man and horse in flowers. He wrote his wife that they "nearly pulled me to pieces."

Then, an hour later, McClellan received a gift far beyond that of his glorious entrance into Frederick. Earlier that morning, the men of the 27th Indiana were resting in a field that by all appearances had been a rebel camp a few days earlier. Two soldiers, Sergeant John M. Bloss and Corporal Barton W. Mitchell, were sitting there idly when Mitchell spotted something in the grass. It turned out to be three cigars wrapped in a sheet of paper. The paper bore the heading: "Special Orders No 191, Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia." The startled soldiers quickly sent the document up the chain of command, where the division adjutant general, Samuel E. Pittman, confirmed the handwriting to be that of Lee's adjutant general, Robert H. Chilton, as Pittman and Chilton had been comrades before the war.

Pittman dashed off to McClellan's headquarters, where he encountered the general in a meeting with local businessmen. McClellan politely dismissed the civilians, took the letter, and then read it with rising excitement. "Now I know what to do!" he cried out when he was finished. The rebel army was scattered before him in fragments. He could fall on each fragment, and destroy them one by one. He said to Brigadier General John Gibbon, who had just dropped in: "Here is a paper with which if I cannot whip Bobby Lee I will be willing to go home."

Mr. Lincoln had just sent him a telegram: At noon, McClellan sent back an effusive response: * McClellan was on the upswing, all the more so because he had been depressed over his difficult political position. He was certain the President had no faith in him, but if he could destroy Lee's army and effectively win the war what the President thought would not matter very much.

McClellan was correct in his judgement of Mr. Lincoln. While the general did not know that it was the President who had restored him to command over the objections of some of his cabinet, the President did it out of convenience only. He told John Hay: "McClellan is working like a beaver. He seems to be aroused to doing something after the snubbing he got last week." Then the President added: "I am of the opinion that this public feeling against him will make it expedient to take important command from him . but he is too useful now to sacrifice."

* It was never discovered who had lost Special Order 191 and the three cigars. If he lived out the war, he decided that it would be unwise to come forward. Some speculated that it was the work of a traitor, but that seems unlikely. Simply leaving the order in a field and hoping someone would find it was a most impractical scheme for passing on information to an enemy.

Special Order 191 told McClellan that Lee's command had been broken into four parts. In fact, Lee had been forced to change his plans slightly. Reports had reached Lee on 10 September that the Federals were advancing from Pennsylvania towards Hagerstown to the north. He moved to that town with Longstreet and 10,000 men, leaving D.H. Hill in Boonsboro, up the road from Frederick, with 5,000 men. Lee's army was actually in five parts, not four.

The advance element of the Confederate force intended to capture Harper's Ferry, consisting of 8,000 men under Lafayette McLaws, had made camp on the evening of 11 September about 6 miles (10 kilometers) northeast of that place. The next day, the 12th, they had deployed in three parts, one to guard the rear, one to seal off the eastern escape route from Harper's Ferry, and one to seize Maryland Heights.

In the meantime, Jackson's rapid advance down the Virginia side of the Potomac had forced the 2,500 Federals in Martinsburg to fall back to Harper's Ferry on 11 September. This put the Union strength in the town at over 14,000 men. Unfortunately, once the rebels got there they would outnumber the Yankees by 7,000 men, and besides being potentially outnumbered and holed up in a wretched defensive position, many of the soldiers were inexperienced, and their leadership in particular left much to be desired.

Their commander was Colonel Dixon S. Miles, an old regular who had a good record from the Mexican War and Indian fighting, but had suffered troubles with the bottle and seemed to be showing his age. A fellow officer said that he "needed near him a man with sound judgement in order that misdirection and eccentricity might be prevented."

There was no such man near him. The first and most serious misjudgement Miles made was to not pull out of Harper's Ferry immediately. A retreat in the face of an advancing enemy was risky in the extreme, but remaining where he was amounted to suicide. This error was compounded by his deployment of his soldiers. He put most of his men on Bolivar Heights, left only 2,000 on Maryland Heights, the highest and most strategically important of the surrounding ridges, and left Loudoun Heights almost completely undefended.

The Confederates advanced up narrow and steep paths onto Maryland Heights on 12 September. Late that evening they ran into the Union defenders, who had set up an abatis, a lacework of felled trees, with their branches pointed outward. The Federals fired on the rebels, who decided to wait until morning to advance further.

After the sun came up on 13 September, the Confederates quickly overran the abatis, sending the Federals back to another abatis about 400 yards (360 meters) uphill, in front of a crude breastworks of logs and rocks, protecting the 1,700 Yankees at the top of the heights. The two sides were roughly equal numerically but the Union soldiers were almost all green. Despite that, under the command of Colonel Eliakim Sherrill, a former US Congressman, they threw back two rebel charges.

Colonel Sherrill had little military experience but a good deal of courage, and he energetically encouraged his men to fight back, walking among them and waving his pistol. Then the Confederates charged again. Sherrill recklessly stood up on the breastworks to get a better view and show his defiance, and got a Minie ball through his cheek for his troubles. Sherrill was carried off the battlefield and his men panicked. Under Confederate pressure, their resistance crumbled. By late afternoon, all the Federals had withdrawn across the Potomac, and Maryland Heights was in rebel hands.

John Walker had arrived at Loudoun Heights that morning at about 10:00 AM with his division of 3,400 men, finding much to their surprise that there were no Yankees there at all. Stonewall Jackson had arrived before Bolivar Heights at about 11:00 AM. By that evening it was apparent to all the defenders that their position was hopeless, all except Colonel Miles, who said: "I am ordered to hold this place and God damn my soul if I don't."

Miles did have the presence of mind to send out a small detachment of cavalry during the night to contact McClellan and inform him that Harper's Ferry could not be defended for more than 48 hours. If no help arrived in that time, Miles would be forced to surrender.

Meeting at Spotsylvania

Appointed general in chief of all Union armies in February 1864, Ulysses S. Grant wasted no time in planning a major offensive on the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. Grant’s primary goal in threatening the capital was to keep Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia occupied while Union General William T. Sherman led his own advance into Georgia in the war’s western theater. Having observed the Army of the Potomac’s crossing of the Rapidan River on May 4, Lee moved his army into position to confront the enemy in the dense woodland known as the Wilderness, where the first engagement of the Union campaign occurred on May 5-7.

Did you know? From May 5 to May 12, 1864, the Army of the Potomac lost around 32,000 men (killed, wounded or missing) in the Battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House--more than for all Union armies combined in any previous week of the war.

After two days of bloody but indecisive fighting, Grant ordered the Army of the Potomac (led by General George Meade) to march south via a flanking motion in an attempt to get between Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and Richmond. Their destination was the small town of Spotsylvania Court House, a crossroads on the road to Richmond. Their movement overnight was slower than had been hoped for, however, and Lee’s Confederates managed to reach the crossroads before the Federals. Rushing to build a network of defensive breastworks, trenches and artillery emplacements at Spotsylvania, the rebels stalled the Union advance there beginning on May 8.

Union and Confederate forces were facing off to the south and east of Spotsylvania Court House. On May 12, Grant ordered Hancock to assault Ewell&aposs position in the "mule&aposs shoe" salient. This map attempts to depict the action during that assault. It shows Ewell&aposs position at the start of the assault and the position he held after the Union forces breached the lines. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

James Power Smith

I found this jewel at


Captain James Power Smith
In the spring of 1861, James Power Smith was a theological student at Virginia’s Hampden-Sydney College. He enlisted in the Rockbridge Artillery, a Confederate battery comprised of college and seminary students. The battery fought at the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) where Smith received his baptism of fire. It was there that General Barney Bee saw Jackson’s men holding steady while other Confederates were giving ground, and made the historic comment, “There stands Jackson like a stone wall!” From then on the name “Stonewall” Jackson became a legend in the South.

On September 7, 1862, Smith rode into Frederick,Maryland, to visit the Presbyterian Church where his father had preached when James was a boy. When he left the church, he discovered that his horse had been stolen. Then he received another surprise. He was told to report to General Thomas J. Jackson, the war’s most famous commander. He thought someone was playing a trick on him, but he went. The general had met Smith three years earlier at a wedding, and surprised the young corporal by inviting him to be the aide-de-camp on his staff.

Smith hustled to get a new uniform and a horse, and on September 20 he returned to the Army of Northern Virginia. The next day he met General Lee, who gave him a fresh peach. Later Smith traveled with Jackson from Winchester to Lee’s headquarters in Fredericksburg. On the way they passed the refugees fleeing from Fredericksburg before the battle, including many huddled in Salem Church.

On Sunday morning, November 30, 1862, Jackson and Smith rode into deserted Fredericksburg. They sat in their saddles at the eastern corner of the Presbyterian Church, and surveyed the scene of the coming battle. Smith asked if he could ride down to the river to water his horse, and “Old Jack” warned him that he would probably be shot by the Yankees on the other side of the river. But he did ride down to water his horse, and when he returned, Jackson was still in the same place. After the war, Smith identified the spot where Jackson planned strategy for the Battle of Fredericksburg, and in 1924 a marker was imbedded in the brick wall by the Presbyterian Church, commemorating it.

That night they stayed in the home of the French family—the family that gave the French Memorial Chapel and for whom the education building is named. Jackson led evening prayers, using the big family bible,and kneeling to pray with the family. Then Smith and Jackson established their headquarters south of town near Guiney’s Station.

On the morning of December 11, 1862, General Burnside’s Union guns began the bombardment of Fredericksburg. Smith spent most of the day carrying messages between the Southern commanders. Early next morning he rode with Jackson to the present Lee’s Hill, where Lee and Jackson conferred and observed the battle. They watched the Yankees “coming handsomely” across the river. However, by the end of the day the whole landscape was covered with the bodies of many men in union blue.

During the battle, a part of the Confederate line was the spot south of town commanded with one cannon by the “The Gallant Pelham.” Finally, General Lee had to send word to Pelham to pull back. Who took the message from Lee to Pelham? It was James Power Smith.

Smith also reported that a “fine handsome blooded mare” was shot out from under him that day, and many of his former comrades in the Rockbridge Artillery were killed. That night, Jackson and Smith were at Moss Neck Manor, south of town. Jackson said, “If the men sleep on the ground, I will too.” (This was in December.) They had two overcoats and two blankets. They each put on an overcoat. They put one blanket under them, one over them, and they huddled together to keep from freezing that night.

The next day they moved into Moss Neck manor, the home of the Corbins. On Christmas Day Jackson entertained General Lee, General J. E. B. Stuart and Sandie Pendleton at the manor with turkeys, oysters, a ham, cake, a bottle of wine, biscuits, and pickles. And who obtained all those fixings for the dinner? James Power Smith.

Jackson was appalled by the suffering in Fredericksburg, and led the officers and men in his command in raising $30,000 for their relief—a lot of money for that time.

On April 23, 1863, Smith was present at the baptism of Jackson’s daughter, Julia. Tucker Lacy conducted the service.

On April 29, 1863, hundreds of Federal soldiers crossed the Rappahannock River under the cover of heavy fog in the attack which led to the crucial battle of Chancellorsville. When he received the news, General Jackson sent Smith to inform General Lee of the attack. The next night Smith was sent on an errand by Lee. When he returned, Lee was sleeping at the foot of a tree and covered with his army cloak. He pulled Smith under his cloak and asked him to give his report. Smith then made his own bed, and “with my head in my saddle, near my horse’s feet, I was soon wrapped in the heavy slumber of a weary soldier.”

Smith then became the only eye-witness to a great moment in American history: “Sometime after midnight I was awakened by the chill of the early morning hours, and turning over, caught a glimpse of a little flame on the slope above me, and sitting up to see what it meant, I saw, bending over a scant fire of twigs, two men seated on old cracker boxes and warming their hands over a little fire. I had to rub my eyes and collect my wits to recognize the figures of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Who can tell the story of that quiet council of war between two
sleeping armies.”

As a result of Smith’s report of this scene, the event was immortalized. The famous “Cracker Barrel Conference” not only depicted the South’s two best known generals planning Jackson’s famous flank march that led to their greatest victory at the Battle of Chancellorsville, it was also the last time that the two great men ever saw each other alive. The image of the two men sitting on the cracker boxes by the fire isnow the logo which symbolizes the famous battle at the Chancellorsville Military Park, and elsewhere.

At 8 P.M. that night Smith gathered his couriers to find Jackson, and about a mile west of Chancellorsville was told that Jackson was just ahead. He rode a hundred yards further on, and heard shouting. He was told that Jackson had been wounded, and others around him killed by the fire of their own men. Smith spurred his horse forward.

On arriving at the scene he was told that “He (Jackson) was struck by three balls at the same time. One went through the palm of his right hand a second passed through the wrist of the left arm and out of the hand the third one was more severe. It passed through the left arm halfway from the shoulder to the elbow. The large bone of the upper arm was splintered to the elbow joint, and the wound bled freely.”

Jackson’s horse bolted, and he reeled from his saddle, but he was caught and placed gently on the ground. General A. P. Hill had come to his aid as Smith rode up. Smith cut Jackson’s sleeve open from the wrist to the shoulder, and used his handkerchief to stem the flow of blood. Couriers were sent to find a doctor and an ambulance.

Smith was one of the four litter-bearers who started to move Jackson to a safer place on a stretcher. But one of the bearers was shot, and he fell. The fire became heavier, so the litter was placed in the middle of the road, and Smith shielded Jackson’s body with his own. When the firing slackened, Smith helped Jackson up, put his arms around him, and started to drag him to safety. More litter bearers arrived. Again they started to carry him to safety. Another bearer fell, dropping his corner of the litter. This time Jackson fell and hit the ground, causing him great pain. Finally they reached comparative safety and Jackson was placed in an ambulance.

In a tent near the Wilderness Store, Jackson’s left arm was amputated near the shoulder, and a ball was taken from his right hand. Smith held the light for the operation, and “all night long it was mine to watch the sufferer and keep him warmly wrapped and undisturbed in his sleep.” All the other staff officers had to return to their duties, so only Smith remained and continued to talk with Jackson. Though he had been hit three times, fallen from a litter once, was dragged for a distance by Smith, endured a miserable ride in an army ambulance, went through shock, and then had his arm amputated, he still was very alert.

In the afternoon a courier arrived from Lee’s headquarters, and Smith gave his message to Jackson. Lee said, “Could I have directed events, I should have chosen for the good of the country to be disabled in your stead…”

Early on May 4, Jackson was placed in an army ambulance for the twenty-five mile trip to Guiney’s Station, where he would be safer. In the ambulance with Jackson were Chaplain Tucker Lacy, Smith and Doctor Hunter McGuire. McGuire, whose statue stands in front of the state Capitol and who had a Richmond hospital named after him, was a Presbyterian, too. Saddened Virginians watched the ambulance pass by. Smith remained at Guiney’s Station with Tucker Lacy and Doctor McGuire. Smith kept watch with Jackson during the night of May 5th. At dawn he called for the doctor, who recognized the early symptoms of pneumonia. While the doctor was dressing Jackson’s wounds, Anna Jackson and their daughter Julia arrived. Anna sang spiritual songs for him. He told her that he wanted to be buried in Lexington, and that he always wanted to die on Sunday.

On Sunday, May 10, 1862, Lieutenant General Thomas J. Jackson “crossed over the river to rest under the shade of the trees.” Just two weeks after the Jacksons had gone to church together and had their daughter baptized, Anna was a widow. The Confederacy was filled with grief. Smith rode in the railway car to Richmond with the Jackson family and the general’s body. General Longstreet headed the pallbearers who carried the casket up the steps of the Capitol, where over 2,000 people came to show their respects. After the burial in Lexington, Smith accompanied Anna Jackson and little Julia to their home in North Carolina.

On June 13, Smith returned to report to Lee before the battle of Gettysburg. At Lee’s request, Smith remained with him that night, and he was with the general when the battle began on July 1. Lee sent him with a message to General Ewell, and he was with Ewell when the request arrived from General Jubal Early to advance up the slope to capture Cemetery Ridge. Ewell told Smith to take the request to General Lee. He found Lee and Longstreet and conveyed the request.

After the war, Smith returned to Union Seminary, was ordained as a Presbyterian minister, and on May 24, 1869, he was called to be the minister of the Presbyterian Church of Fredericksburg,
where he served for 23 years. He shared in dedicating the Jackson Monument in Richmond and the Memorial Hall in Lexington. He dedicated the place on the Lacy farm at “Ellwood” where Tucker Lacy had buried Jackson’s arm, and also indicated the place by the brick wall in front of the Presbyterian Church where Jackson had stood to “plan the Battle of Fredericksburg.”

In 1871 he married Agnes, the daughter of Tucker Lacy’s younger brother, Major Horace J. Lacy, who lived at “Chatham” (called the “Lacy House” during the war – when it was the Federal headquarters, and then a hospital.) He wrote extensively about his war experiences including “The Religious Character of Stonewall Jackson,” “Jackson at Chancellorsville,” and “Lee at Gettysburg.”

James Power Smith returned to Gettysburg in 1917 to pronounce the invocation at the dedication of the Virginia State Monument at Seminary Ridge. He died in 1923 at 86, and was the last surviving member of Stonewall Jackson’s staff.

Battle Flags of the Army of Northern Virginia

Following the adoption of the Stars and Bars as the national flag of the Confederate States, many military units on both regimental and company levels, quickly adopted it for use as a battle flag. Using this pattern the earliest battles of the war, like Rich Mountain, Bethel, Scary Creek, Phillipi and finally First Manassas would be fought. Confederate troops, in many cases, also still used state flags as well as their special company level colors.

In the early months of the War, the Confederate War Department relied exclusively on the patriotic effusion of the ladies of the South for the unit colors of the units that assembled in Richmond during the Spring and Summer of 1861. The results were mixed. Many individual companies received splendid flags from the communities from which they were raised, but the regiments into which they were assembled did not necessarily share in this enthusiasm. In such cases, one of the company flags would be chosen to serve as the regimental flag. The result was anything but uniformity in the colors carried by the armies that coalesced in the Shenandoah Valley and around Centreville in June.

To remedy this inadequacy, General Beauregard caused a number of Confederate first national flags to be made from the bunting that had been seized at the former Gosport U.S. Navy Yard near Portsmouth, Virginia. This bunting was placed in the hands of Richmond military goods dealer, George Ruskell. From this bunting Ruskell assembled at least 43 flags, for which he was paid $11.50 each. Deliveries began on 18 July 1861 and continued until 7 August. Only 13 flags, however, had been delivered to Major J.B. McClelland at Richmond by the battle of 1st Manassas (Bull Run), and none of these may have been distributed to the Army at Centreville before the battle.

Judging from the $12.00 price that Ruskell later received for a bunting Confederate first national that was 6 feet long on the fly, it is thought that the 43 flags that he delivered in July and August were 4 feet on their hoist by 6 feet on their fly with eleven white, 5-pointed stars arranged in a circle or ellipse. According to one account, these flags were later turned in so that their bunting could be recycled into other flags.

Howard Michael Madaus


The smoke of battle often obscuring the field made identification between friend and foe very difficult. In some cases the Stars and Bars so resembled the U.S. flag that troops fired on friendly units killing and wounding fellow soldiers.

As a result, Confederate army and corps level officers all over the South began thinking about creating distinctive battle flags that were completely different from those of the Union Army, which would help make unit identification a lot easier. The first of these – and the most famous – was created in September, 1861 in Virginia.

Gathering at the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac (later renamed the Army of Northern Virginia) were generals Joseph Johnston, G.T. Beauregard, Gustavus Smith and Congressman William Porcher Miles, then an aide on Beauregard’s staff. The conversations turned around the idea of creating a special “battle flag”, to be used, in the words of Gen. Beauregard, “only in battle” for their army. Miles offered the design with the St. Andrews cross he had submitted for consideration as a national flag. The competition was a design from Louisiana with a St. George’s cross (horizontal/vertical). With the number of states that had seceded now reaching eleven (and with Confederate recognition of Missouri as well), 12 stars were now available for use on a flag. Thus, it looked a lot better than it had in February when only seven stars were added. Miles’ design was adopted by the council.

Gen. Beauregard first suggested the colors be a blue field with a red cross, but Miles countered that this was contrary to the laws of heraldry. Gen. Johnston suggested that it be made in a square shape to save materials as well as ease manufacture, and this was accepted. The flag was supposed to come in three sizes – 48 inches square for infantry units, 36 inches square for artillery units and 30 inches square for cavalry – but as the war progressed this was not always followed.


Prototype Battle Flag madeby Hetty Cary
for General Joseph E. Johnston
By Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr. 27 January 2000

On 21 October 1861, General Beauregard informed General Johnston that he found the design pattern for the new battle flag acceptable. Even before this approval, a number of ladies in Richmond had known of the design and were preparing examples of the new battle flag. Three young ladies of Richmond and Baltimore, sisters Jennie and Hetty Cary and their cousin Constance Cary, then living in Richmond, in particular had chosen to make battle flags for presentation to three of the most prominent general officers then at Centreville. The flags were individually sent to these officers over a period of at least a month in late autumn, 1861. Hetty Cary sent the flag she had made to General Joseph E. Johnston at an undetermined date. Constance Cary sent her flag to General Earl Van Dorn on 10 November 1861, and he acknowledged its receipt on the 12th, later noting that his staff celebrated the occasion with dramatic, if unofficial cermonies. Jennie Cary’s flag was not ready for another month, and on 12 December 1861 she finally sent it to General Beauregard, who acknowledged its receipt on the 15th.

All three flags were made with fields of a thin scarlet silk, doubled and underlined. Each side was traversed by a dark blue silk St. Andrew’s cross bearing twelve gold painted stars and was edged with white silk. The exterior edges of the flags were finished with a heavy gold fringe. These same flags resembled the first type silk battle flags that were distributed to the Confederate Army of the Potomac on 28 November 1861.


Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag
Silk Issue (First Type, First Variation), 1861
By Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr. 09 February 2000

Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag
Silk Issue (First Type, Second Variation), 1861
By Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr. 10 February 2000
from a sketch by Howard M. Madaus

Based either on the original water color drawing or a flag made from it, a number of battle flags sufficient to supply the Army of the Potomac were then ordered. Army Quartermaster Colin M. Selph bought the entire silk supply of Richmond for making the flags (and the only red-like colors available in bulk were either pink or rose, hence these flags being of lighter shades). The flag making was contracted to some Richmond sewing circles.

There were two basic design types made. The first type had gold stars painted on the cross, and a white hoist sleeve for the flag pole. There are two variantions of the first type: one having gold or yellow fringe on the three external edges of the flag and the other having a white border in lieu of fringe.

The second type differed from the first in that the second type had white silk stars sewn to the blue saltire. Rather than fringe or a white border, the external edges of the second type were bound with yellow silk to form a 2″ wide border. It had a blue hoist sleeve for the flag pole.

Although the intent had been stated to have flags issued in different size for infantry, artillery and cavalry, no such size distinction was made in these silk flags. All of these flags are essentially 48″ square. There is, however, one flag of the second type used by the 6th Virginia Cavalry which has a pole sleeve of yellow (the cavalry branch colour).

Starting in late November, 1861, the new battle flags were then presented to the Confederate units at Centreville and into December for other units in nearby parts of Northern Virginia. The flags were presented to each regiment by Gens. Beauregard and Johnston, as well as other army officers, in elaborate parade ground affairs. The Richmond Whig newspaper article of December 2, 1861, tells of the presentation at Centreville on November 28:

“The exercises were opened by Adjutant General Jordan, who, in a brief but eloquent address, charged the men to preserve from dishonor the flags committed to their keeping. The officers then dismounted and the colonels of the different regiments coming forward to the center, Gen. Beauregard, in a few remarks, presented each with a banner, and was eloquently responded to. The regiments then came to ‘present’, and received their flags with deafening cheers.”

So was issued the first of the battle flags for what would become the famous Army of Northern Virginia. Despite the creation of this (and other) battle flags, the First National flag would not fall from use in battle. Examples of it being used for the rest of the war by Confederate units, including Lee’s army, are numerous.

Greg Biggs and Devereaux Cannon
Based on research by Howard Madaus, Devereaux Cannon, Ken Legendre, Alan Summrall, Richard Rollins, Greg Biggs, and a host of other flag enthusiasts.


Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag
Cotton Issue, 1862
By Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr. 27 January 2000
from a sketch by Howard M. Madaus

By the Spring of 1862, the battle flag of the Confederate Army of the Potomac was neither widely distributed to the forces in Virginia nor was it the only battle flag in use. In November and December of 1861, the silk battle flags made in Richmond had only been distributed to the units of the four divisions of the Army at Centreville and to a few outlying brigades. In April of 1862, while these forces were shifting to Virginia’s peninsula between the York and James Rivers, General Magruder had caused another design to be instituted in his Army of the Peninsula which was completely different from the Army of the Potomac design. Moreover, as other Confederate units arrived in the vicinity of Richmond to reinforce these two armies, the Confederate Quartermaster’s Department found it necessary to seek additional battle flags for units that had never yet received either of the distinctive battle flags. As the silk supply in Richmond had been exhausted by Captain Selph’s efforts the previous winter, the department turned to another dress material– a wool-cotton blend used in less formal, daily clothing. Like the silk issues of 1861, these flags appear to have been made by ladies’ sewing circles. The resulting flags were about 42″ square their scarlet fields were crossed by a poorly dyed blue cotton St. Andrew’s cross without the usual white edging. The cross bore still only 12 white stars, despite the Confederate recognition of Kentucky as its thirteenth state in December of 1861. All four edges of the flag were bound with a narrow orange cotton border. The distribution of these “cotton” substitutes was very limited, with only three forces currently known to have received them: Hood’s Brigade of Whiting’s Division, Elzey’s Brigade from the Shenandoah Valley, and Stuart’s Maryland Line. The manufacture of further flags of this pattern was precluded by the establishment of a “flag department” at the Richmond Clothing Depot that began in May making and distributing quality battle flags made of bunting.

These limited replacement flags were first issued starting in April, 1862 and continuing into May. Lieutenant James Lemon, of the 18th Georgia Infantry (who received their flag on or about May 7th) wrote upon his unit receiving their cotton flag, “It is a beautiful crimson flag with blue bars and 12 stars.”

Greg Biggs and Howard M. Madaus


Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag
First Bunting Issue, 1862
By Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr. 02 February 2000

By the Spring of 1862, the battle flag of the Confederate Army of the Potomac was neither widely distributed to the forces in Virginia nor was it the only battle flag in use. In November and December of 1861, the silk battle flags made in Richmond had only been distributed to the units of the four divisions of the Army at Centreville and to a few outlying brigades. In April of 1862, while these forces were shifting to Virginia’s peninsula between the York and James Rivers, General Magruder had caused another design to be instituted in his Army of the Peninsula which was completely different from the Army of the Potomac design. Moreover, as other Confederate units arrived in the vicinity of Richmond to reinforce these two armies, the Confederate Quartermaster’s Department found it necessary to seek additional battle flags for units that had never yet received either of the distinctive battle flags. As the silk supply in Richmond had been exhausted by Captain Selph’s efforts the previous winter, the department turned to another dress material– a wool-cotton blend used in less formal, daily clothing. Like the silk issues of 1861, these flags appear to have been made by ladies’ sewing circles. The resulting flags were about 42″ square their scarlet fields were crossed by a poorly dyed blue cotton St. Andrew’s cross without the usual white edging. The cross bore still only 12 white stars, despite the Confederate recognition of Kentucky as its thirteenth state in December of 1861. All four edges of the flag were bound with a narrow orange cotton border. The distribution of these “cotton” substitutes was very limited, with only three forces currently known to have received them: Hood’s Brigade of Whiting’s Division, Elzey’s Brigade from the Shenandoah Valley, and Stuart’s Maryland Line. The manufacture of further flags of this pattern was precluded by the establishment of a “flag department” at the Richmond Clothing Depot that began in May making and distributing quality battle flags made of bunting.

These limited replacement flags were first issued starting in April, 1862 and continuing into May. Lieutenant James Lemon, of the 18th Georgia Infantry (who received their flag on or about May 7th) wrote upon his unit receiving their cotton flag, “It is a beautiful crimson flag with blue bars and 12 stars.”

Greg Biggs and Howard M. Madaus


Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag
Second Bunting Issue, 1862
By Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr. 27 January 2000

In June, the Richmond Depot made another wool issue for the army. Running short of blue bunting, the width of the cross was narrowed to only 5 inches and the white stars were enlarged to 3½ inches. These were still bordered in orange wool.

While most of these flags were made in the 48″ infantry size, 3 foot square size artillery battery flags do survive as variants of the 2nd bunting Richmond Depot pattern. However, despite this issue, most of the surviving battle flags of batteries and artillery battalions of the Army of Northern Virginia are in fact infantry size (4 foot square).

Flags of the 2nd bunting pattern were first issued to D.H. Hill’s Division. Later they replaced most of the Army of the Peninsula battle flags. Those flags had been devised by General Magruder in April of 1862 and some were still in service as late as September of 1862. New units assigned to General Longstreet’s “Right Wing” were also furnished the new battle flag as well.

Production records for the depot in the National Archives show that only some 100 of the first two wool bunting flags were ever made.

Greg Biggs and Howard M. Madaus
Based on research by Howard Madaus, Devereaux Cannon, Ken Legendre, Alan Summrall, Richard Rollins, Greg Biggs, and a host of other flag enthusiasts.


Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag
Third Bunting Issue, 1862-1864
By Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr. 27 January 2000

Beginning in July, 1862, the Richmond Depot started making the largest of the ANV flag issues in terms of number of flags made. The orange bunting for the borders having run out, the borders for the remaining wool bunting flags would now be white. This version of the flag was the same in terms of dimensions as the previous Second Bunting.

In June of 1862, the Longstreet’s “Right Wing” authorized that battle honors be permitted for the units that had served honorably at Seven Pines. These honors were printed on cotton strips that could be sewn to the flags. For those units who had served at Williamsburg on 5-6 May, strips of printed cotton bearing that name were also distributed to Longstreet’s Division and Early’s Brigade of D.H. Hill’s Division. These honors had primarily been attached to the silk issue and first and second bunting issue battle flags.

Beginning in the Autumn of 1862, the new third type 3rd bunting issue battle flags were distributed by the quartermaster’s department. Orders were issued in Hood’s Division for the decoration of his units’ flags during the Summer of 1862, and the flags were painted with honors in gold or white paint at division headquarters. Later in 1862 other 3rd bunting issue battle flags were similarly decorated with honors with white paint on the quadrants of the red field. Branch’s North Carolina Brigade received their marked colors in December of 1862. Kershaw’s South Carolina Brigade received similarly marked battle flags in 1863.

By 1863 the supply of battle flags on hand at the Richmond Clothing Depot was sufficient to permit the re-equipping of entire divisions with new 3rd bunting issue battle flags. Although Pickett’s Division would receive their new flags only marked with white painted unit designations on their red quadrants, most of the divisional issues had their battle honors painted in dark blue lettering in chronological order on their red quadrants, starting with the top, then the staff, then the fly, and finally the lower quadrant. A unit abbreviation was added in yellow paint to the blue cross, surrounding the center star. Four divisions received flags so marked: D.H. Hill’s Division in April of 1863, A.P. Hill’s Light Division in June of 1863, Edward Johnson’s “Stonewall” Division in September of 1863, and Heth’s Division in the same month. The honors were painted on the last two issues by Richmond artist, Lewis Montague.

As with the 2d bunting issue, artillery battery flags (3 foot square size) do survive as variants of the 3rd bunting Richmond Depot pattern. Moreover, it is known that four battery flags were delivered to the Washington Artillery on 2 December 1862 that conform to the artillery size, i.e. they are basically 36″ square. However, despite this issue, most of the surviving battle flags of batteries and artillery battalions of the Army of Northern Virginia are in fact infantry size (4 foot square). A group from the 2nd Corps artillery were decorated with battle honors.

While a few artillery size battle flags survive conforming to both the 2nd and the 3rd bunting patterns, NO cavalry flags agreeing with the proposed 2.5 foot square dimensions survive for either the silk issues or the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd bunting issues of battle flags from the Richmond Depot. To the contrary, the cavalry flags that do survive, including one silk battle flag from the issue of 13 December 1861 (6th Virginia Cavalry- with a YELLOW pole sleeve), one orange bordered 2nd issue bunting battle flag (7th Virginia Cavalry), and a host of cavalry battle flags conforming to the 3rd bunting issue are all basically 48″ square. There have been several suggestions proposed to explain this inconsistency between the proposed policy and the actual practice. Upon reflection, the 2.5 foot square flags may have been determined to be too small. (And, indeed, at least three cavalry flags do survive that are essentially 42″ square.) A more likely alternative suggests that the requisitioning officers simply asked for a “battle flag” without specifying size, and the supply officers simply furnished what was on hand — an infantry battle flag.

Greg Biggs and Howard M. Madaus
Based on research by Howard Madaus, Devereaux Cannon, Ken Legendre, Alan Summrall, Richard Rollins, Greg Biggs, and a host of other flag enthusiasts.


Second National Pattern Regimental Flag
Richmond Clothing Depot, 1863-1865
by Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr., 18 March 2000

During the Autumn of 1863, the Richmond Clothing Depot began the manufacture of Confederate 2nd national flags. One of the four sizes produced was intended for field use. This flag measured 4 feet on its hoist by 6 feet on its fly. The white field was made of bunting as was the 2.5 feet square red canton. A 3″ to 3 1/2″ wide dark blue St. Andrew’s cross traversed the canton bearing thirteen white, 5-pointed stars, each 3″ in diameter. A white cotton 3/8″ edging bordered both the sides and ends of the cross. A 2″ wide white canvas heading with three button hole eylets for ties finished the staff edge.

Flags of this type saw limited service in the Army of Northern Virginia from late 1863 through the end of the War. About half the surviving examples of this type of flag were carried as regimental colors one-quarter are identified as brigade or division headquarters flags, and the rest lack specific identification.

The Staunton Clothing Depot made a variation of this flag for both a headquarters flag and a unit color. The size was basically the same but the width of the St. Andrew’s crosses were 4″ to 5″ in width and the stars were accordingly larger. The edging of the cross only flanked the sides of the cross and did not extend around its ends. Finally, the white fields of the 2nd national field flags made at the Staunton Depot were made from a white cotton flannel rather than bunting.

Howard Michael Madaus


Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag
Fourth Bunting Issue, 1864
By Wayne J. Lovett

The Richmond Clothing Depot continued to manufacture and distribute its third bunting pattern battle flags until the Spring of 1864. While the reason for the change in pattern that took place in April of 1864 has yet to be documented, it is thought to have related to the arrival of four boxes of bunting imported from England. This shipment had left Bermuda on 29 March 1864 aboard the Index and had arrived at Wilmington on 9 April. At any rate, by May the Richmond Clothing Depot was issuing a new pattern (the fourth in bunting) battle flag.

The new fourth pattern Richmond Depot battle flag was larger than any of its three bunting predecessors or the silk issues that had preceeded them, both in overall size and in its internal dimensions. Overall, the new flags were generally closer to 51″ square rather than 48″ square of the predecessors. Their St. Andrew’s crosses were usually between 6½” and 7½” wide and were flanked on each side with 5/8″ wide white cotton tape. These crosses bore thirteen, white, 5-pointed stars, set at 8″ intervals on the arms of the cross and measuring between 5″ and 5½” in diameter. As with the third bunting issue, the three exterior edges of the flag were finished with white bunting that was folded over the raw edges to produce a border that was 1½” to 1 3/4″ wide. The leading or staff edge continued to be finished with a white cotton canvas heading, 2″ wide, pierced with three button hole eyelets for ties.

Surprisingly, the first of the new fourth bunting pattern Richmond Depot battle flags were issued, not to units of the Army of Northern Virginia, but to Ector’s Texas Brigade then serving in the western theater. Colonel Young, then in Richmond, brought the new battle flags for the brigade back with him. After this preliminary issue, the new size battle flags were issued as replacement flags for units whose flags were lost or worn out during the months from May through August of 1864. There is strong evidence to suggest that Major-General Field’s Division of Longstreet’s Corps may have received a full set of the new battle flags as well.

The fourth pattern Richmond Depot battle flags appear to have been made in one size only, with at least two cavalry regiments receiving these relatively large size flags. Except for two North Carolina units whose flags were marked with unit abbreviations and battle honors in the style of the divisional issues of 1863, the flags left the Richmond Clothing Depot without honors or unit abbreviations. A few regiments in the field applied unit abbreviations after receipt of the flags, but for the most part the flags were left without decoration.

While the fourth pattern bunting Richmond Depot battle flag was not the most prominent used in the War, through the selective examination of the War Department’s flag collection in 1903, Dr. Samuel Lewis, chairman of the United Confederate Veterans flag committee, chose its dimensions to publish in the UCV’s 1907 guide to the flags of the Confederacy.


Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag
Fifth Bunting Issue, 1864
By Wayne J. Lovett

In either September or early October, 1864, Mr. Daniel Morrison, clerk in charge of the flag manufacturing branch of the Richmond Clothing Depot, again altered the pattern of the battle flag being prepared by the depot. The changes instituted at this time would, for the most part, affect the subsequent patterns produced to the end of the War.

The new pattern reduced the overall size and the internal dimensions of the battle flag. This fifth bunting pattern combined the dimensions of the two preceeding issues, with the result that it was made slightly rectangular, usually 48″ to 49″ on the staff by 50″ to 51″ on the fly. More significantly the width of the cross was diminished to 5″ to 5½” in width. Accordingly the star diameter was also reduced to 4½” to 5″ in diameter. Instead of either the 6″ spacing of the third pattern or 8″ spacing of the fourth, the stars were set on the arms of the cross at 9″ intervals. Other characteristics remained the same.

An offshoot of the fifth pattern was made at the Staunton Clothing Depot for those units of the Wharton’s Division Army of the Valley that had lost their flags at Winchester in mid-September. These were very similar to the fifth Richmond Depot pattern but bore 4″ diameter stars on 4½” wide crosses and were finished with a white flannel border instead of white bunting.

The fifth bunting pattern of the Richmond Clothing Depot was only briefly issued and only as a replacement flag. As a general rule it was issued unmarked however, at least two units of Clingman’s Brigade who lost their colors at Fort Harrison received replacements that bore battle honors and unit abbreviations like the 1863 divisional issues. No flags other than infantry size are known to have been made.

Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag
Sixth Bunting Issue, 1864
By Wayne J. Lovett

When Gordon’s Corps returned from the Shenandoah Valley in December of 1864, many of its units were without battle flags or carrying flags that were sadly worn out by two years of hard service. The battle of Cedar Creek had been particularly devastating to the units of the Corps. To provide replacements, the Richmond Clothing Depot produced a new subvariant of its bunting battle flag — the sixth pattern change since 1862.

Although their configuration was now closer to the square types of the earlier issues, the most prominent change was the reverting to the 8″ star spacing on the arms of the cross that had typified the fourth pattern. The cross remained at 5″ in width with 4½” diameter stars, but the width of the white edging diminished slightly to the old ½” standard used in 1862 and 1863. White bunting borders remained on three sides, while the fourth (staff) edge was finished with a white canvas heading pierced with three button hole eyelets.

As with the fifth bunting type, only one size (4 feet square) appears to have been made of this pattern. Although Cox’s North Carolina brigade received a set of the new flags with painted battle honors and unit abbreviations applied in the manner of the 1863 divisional issues, most of the flags were issued devoid of markings. At least two units applied unit abbreviations to their flags after issue by inking an abbreviation on the center star. This sixth bunting type was superseded in early 1865 by the seventh and final type.


Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag
Seventh Bunting Issue, 1864
By Wayne J. Lovett

Because the earliest example of the seventh bunting pattern battle flag from the Richmond Clothing Depot was captured at Waynesboro, Virginia on 2 March 1865, the revised pattern is thought to have originated in January or February of 1865. Essentially, the seventh pattern differed in only one respect from its predecessor. Its 4½” diameter stars were spaced at 7″ intervals rather than 8″ intervals on its 5″ wide bunting St. Andrew’s Cross. The same basically 48″ square size was issued to infantry, cavalry, and artillery.

The seventh bunting pattern battle flags were issued from the Richmond Clothing Depot devoid of decoration. A few units applied battle honors and unit abbreviations in the field. (At least two units decorated the stars with honors another applied strips of cotton with the honors and yet another decorated its quadrants with painted honors.) Although near the end of the Confederacy, a surprisingly large number of the seventh type bunting issue battle flags were evidently made, as many examples survive.


Third National Pattern Regimental Flag
Richmond Clothing Depot, 1865
by Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr., 18 March 2000

In 1865, with the adoption of the third and final national flag of the Confederate States of America, the Richmond Clothing Depot produced flags of the new pattern in both garrison and field sizes. The flags produced where identical to the second national flag patterns made by that depot, the only difference being that the white field was reduced and a bar of red bunting was added to the fly.

Due to the short period of time between the adoption of this flag and the end of the war, very few were produced.

General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia

Organization of the Army of Northern Virginia at the time of the Battle of Fredericksburg (December 1862)

Organization of the Army of Northern Virginia at the time of the Battle of the Wilderness (May 5–7, 1864)

On June 1, 1862, its most famous and final leader, General Robert E. Lee, took command after Johnston was wounded, and Smith suffered what may have been a nervous breakdown, at the Battle of Seven Pines. In the first year of his command, Lee had two principal subordinate commanders. The right wing of the army was under the command of Lt. Gen. James Longstreet and the left wing under Lt. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. These wings were redesignated as the First Corps (Longstreet) and Second Corps (Jackson) on November 6, 1862. Following Jackson's death after the Battle of Chancellorsville, Lee reorganized the army into three corps on May 30, 1863, under Longstreet, Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, and Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill. A Fourth Corps, under Lt. Gen. Richard H. Anderson, was organized on October 19, 1864 on April 8, 1865, it was merged into the Second Corps. The commanders of the first three corps changed frequently in 1864 and 1865. The Cavalry Corps was led by Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart. It was established on August 17, 1862, and abolished on May 11, 1864 (the day Stuart was mortally wounded), with cavalry units being assigned to the headquarters of the Army. The Reserve Artillery was commanded by Brig. Gen. William N. Pendleton. Ώ]

Corps organization under Lee [ edit | edit source ]

Although the Army of Northern Virginia swelled and shrank over time, its units of organization consisted primarily of the following corps, sometimes referred to as "wings" or "commands":

Voices of the Maryland Campaign: September 8, 1862

The Army of the Potomac continued spreading out along the roads of western Maryland, fanning out in several different columns to protect Baltimore, Washington, and the Potomac River crossings. George B. McClellan believed correctly that despite the “vague and conflicting” reports he received that the Confederate force in Maryland was at Frederick.

Robert E. Lee sat safely in his camp this day, even taking time to dabble in politics. Believing this campaign to be the best chance yet for the Confederacy to gain its independence, Lee offered some political advice to his president.

Near Fredericktown, Md., September 8, 1862

His Excellency Jefferson Davis,
President of the Confederate States, Richmond, Va.:

Mr. President: The present position of affairs, in my opinion, places it in the power of the Government of the Confederate States to propose with propriety to that of the United States the recognition of our independence. For more than a year both sections of the country have been devastated by hostilities which have brought sorrow and suffering upon thousands of homes, without advancing the objects which our enemies proposed to themselves in beginning the contest. Such a proposition, coming from us at this time, could in no way be regarded as suing for peace but, being made when it is in our power to inflict injury upon our adversary, would show conclusively to the world that our sole object is the establishment of our independence and the attainment of an honorable peace. The rejection of this offer would prove to the country that the responsibility of the continuance of the war does not rest upon us, but that the party in power in the United States elect to prosecute for purposes of their own. The proposal of peace would enable the people of the United States to determine at their coming elections whether they will support those who favor a prolongation of the war, or those who wish to bring it to a termination, which can be but productive of good to both parties without affecting the honor of either.

I have the honor to be, with high respect, your obedient servant,

Robert E. Lee believed the presence of Confederate troops in Maryland might persuade the Northern public to vote for an end to the war in the Fall 1862 elections

Articles Featuring Army Of Northern Virginia From History Net Magazines

Confederate soldiers under the command of Gen. Robert E. Lee camp on the outskirts of Hagerstown, Maryland, in September of 1862. Image courtesy of World History Group archive.

War seemed far away to the editors of a Maryland weekly newspaper&ndashuntil the Battle of Antietam rocked their world

On September 17, 1862, a new edition of the Herald of Freedom and Torch Light of Hagerstown, Md., should have hit the streets, but it didn&rsquot.

Nor had the weekly journal come out as scheduled on September 10. The Torch Light was a Union paper, and the mothers of its editors had raised no fools.

When Robert E. Lee crossed the Potomac into Maryland, the editors fled to Pennsylvania, where they stayed at a Chambersburg hotel until the coast was clear. They left behind the half-finished September 10 edition. When they returned after the bloody Battle of Antietam, everything in this agricultural valley in western Maryland had changed. But the editors resumed where they left off. They simply added new copy to existing, half-finished pages. The result, published September 24, was a bizarre compilation of pre-battle editorial bravado juxtaposed against shaky, post-battle prose penned by journalists utterly rattled.

This is the story of how the small-town press covered the Battle of Antietam. But it is also the story of how this Maryland community reacted to the coming of war. The news stories, features, advertisements, editorials, police briefs and public notices tell what locals&mdashin a Union-leaning town in a border state&mdashwere doing and thinking before and after the battle. And as the September 10-24 edition of the newspaper clearly demonstrates, what they were doing and thinking before the battle would be quite different from what they would be doing and thinking afterward.

In the middle of September 1862, war tramped barefoot, dirty and disheveled into Washington County in western Maryland. It came in the form of Rebel soldiers whose clothes were muddy and mismatched, and who kept having to run off behind the bushes to flush the effects of unripe corn and green apples. For citizens of this rural county, the war seemed more of a traveling freak show than a threat. Most residents who made their living off the sticky clay soil of the Cumberland Valley knew only what they read in the papers, and the Hagerstown Herald of Freedom and Torch Light disdainfully wrote off the ragtag, hungry-eyed Southern band half marching, half straggling into town:

[T]heir cause is well nigh hopeless. Though determined to fight to the last, they cannot withstand during the coming winter the combined attacks of starvation, cold and our army and then, if for no other reason, their cause must fail for want of inherent strength to sustain it.

The Confederates were also non-threatening for strategic reasons. General Lee, hoping to stir Marylanders to join their cause, had made it clear that soldiers were not to upset the locals. Crossing the Potomac, the Confederates portrayed themselves as liberators, urging residents to take up arms against the forces that had jailed their lawmakers and fought them in the streets of Baltimore. They didn&rsquot know it, but they were in the wrong part of the state for that dog to hunt. Western Maryland was no hotbed of secession and never had been.

Maryland was historically and culturally a Southern state, but slavery was never terribly popular in Washington County. In 1820, 14 percent, or about 3,200 of its residents were enslaved, about half the state average and far below figures for states in the Deep South. By the time of the war, there were more free blacks in the county than slaves. The German Protestant religions of western Maryland tended to shun slavery, and some free black residents were more popular than the prowling slave catchers who itched to send them into bondage.

Slavery was legal, however, and people of Washington County abided by the law. Slave auctions were held in the Hagerstown Public Square. Runaway slaves were jailed. A notice in the Torch Light advised that the slaves (including a couple of children) of a Hampshire County, Va., family had been caught and thrown in the county clink the rightful owners were urged to come and get &rsquoem. This was ho-hum stuff&mdashan adjoining notice urged readers to be on the lookout for a stray cow, black, with white feet. As with slaves, a &ldquoliberal reward&rdquo was promised for return of the wayward bovine.

When Lee first crossed into Maryland, he was nearly 40 miles southeast of Hagerstown so the Torch Light editors didn&rsquot lead with war news, but a memorable piece of fiction about a woman named Louise who is unhappily married to a man named Maurice who was supposed to be on the train to Glencove, but wasn&rsquot, and it was a good thing too, because a bridge collapsed and &ldquothe mangled lie heaped together.&rdquo All this is too much for Louise, who, when she discovers Maurice is still alive, needs to be &ldquorestored&rdquo by a stiff belt at a roadside tavern, at which point she realizes, &ldquoto the singing of the birds of May,&rdquo that she still loves her husband after all.

Other Torch Light items included a report about a boa constrictor in an Ohio sideshow that went berserk and attacked his handler, who managed a &ldquonarrow escape&rdquo from a &ldquohorrible death.&rdquo

Whatever thoughts the people might have had about the war, states&rsquo rights and slavery, the columns of the paper reflected the community&rsquos more pressing concerns: arranging marriages, setting up households, selling merchandise, raising crops and making money.

They enjoyed as idyllic a lifestyle as any in America, as a Torch Light correspondent&rsquos description of the region that became the Antietam battlefield attests:

Numerous fine farmhouses dot the valley in every direction&mdashsome standing out plainly and boldly on the hilltops, others half-hidden down the little slopes and, with the large comfortable barns about them, and their orchards of fruit trees, these hitherto happy and quiet homes greatly enrich the view, at least to the eyes of old campaigners. Nearly every part of the valley is under cultivation, and the scene is thus varied into squares of the light green of nearly ripened corn, the deeper green of clover, and the dull brown of newly ploughed fields. Toward the north, where our right lay, are some dense woods. Imagine this scene spread in the hollow of an amphitheatre of hills that rise in terraces around it, and you have the field of last Wednesday’s battle.

With harvest time coming, dealers were touting greatly improved reapers, hullers and thrashers in the pages of the Torch Light. On Franklin Street, Samuel Yeakle produced cane-seated chairs of mahogany and walnut. At a stand near the Lutheran church, Emanuel Levy hawked racks of newly arrived clothing, as well as bolts of tweed, linen and velvet. A pair of merchants had just returned from Baltimore with a wagon loaded with household goods such as clocks, mirrors, brooms, brushes, washboards, table settings and Japanese tinwear. M.H. Miller was unfortunate enough to sell something the Confederates had a real need of&mdashshoes. Those under the weather could down a swig of Dr. Swayne&rsquos Blood Purifying Panacea. For $10 a quarter, E.C. Bushnell would teach you to sing.

An advertisement from the Herald of Freedom and Torch Light touts the sale of headstones and monuments. Image courtesy of Washington County Free LIbrary.

Citizens spent a few white-knuckled days watching Confederate columns pass by&mdashand pass, and pass. It seemed there was no end to the wagon trains. Quartermasters hungry for goods of any type mobbed stores, only to find many merchants had already packed up and, like the newspaper editors, headed out of town. Some merchants stayed on, hoping all this unpleasantness might at least yield a profit. These hopes were dashed when the Confederates paid for their purchases in worthless Confederate scrip. Some saw the money as a metaphor for the men:

The condition and morale of the army is beyond description. They came among us not only badly clothed and unclean in person, but in a half-starving condition. For days, indeed, since the fights at Centreville, they have subsisted on rations of bread, irregularly issued, and green corn and fruits. Hundreds are weakened by diarrhea, and worn out by their long march, but they fight desperately because forced by hunger and want. Many express an ardent desire to lay down their arms, while on the other hand the officers and those better cared for are determined to fight to death rather than submit.

Locals hoped the intrusion would be brief, and indeed it was supposed to be. &ldquoTheir conduct while among us,&rdquo the Torch Light grudgingly admitted, &ldquowas generally correct and considerate.&rdquo Pennsylvania was the target, and the Rebels saved their ire for the Keystone State.

Then a strange thing happened. The massive, northwestern-bound surge suddenly reversed itself and began oozing back. The locals didn&rsquot understand. They had no way of knowing that a couple of Federal soldiers had lucked onto the &ldquoLost Orders,&rdquo a scrawled outline of Lee&rsquos entire battle plan found on the side of the road, and Union General George McClellan was ambling toward South Mountain with the intention of splitting the Army of Northern Virginia clean in two.

The returning Confederates held the Federals at bay at three mountain passes long enough for Lee to scramble back to some high ground near Sharpsburg on the west bank of a creek called Antietam. He arrived in time to confront a swelling sea of blue spilling down from the mountain heights.

In between these two streaming masses of men stood an unadorned white box of a building, a simple church consecrated to the prospects of peace. Nearby lived one of its founders, Samuel Mumma, whose thoughts in any given September would have been on the upcoming harvest. His neighbor, David Miller, might have been thinking about his promising crop of corn. They weren&rsquot ready for what was about to happen. Nobody was.

To the casual Civil War student, the newspaper&rsquos account of the ensuing conflict might be almost unrecognizable as the Battle of Antietam. The landmarks that have become historic icons&mdashBloody Lane, the Cornfield, Burnside Bridge&mdashwere, of course, not so-named at the time of the fight. Nor did the paper have the time or disposition to break down the day&rsquos fight into separate elements as has been done since. The portrayal instead calls to mind two boxers rooted in the center of the ring, landing one big haymaker after another.

Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, I Corps commander, got the ball rolling, and before the sun could dry the dew, Miller&rsquos precious cornfield, his life blood, was gone&mdashas clean, Hooker later recalled, as if it had been cut with a knife. Things looked good for the Federals early, then the tide turned and all seemed lost this would be the pattern for the day.

[T]he rebel forces gave way, though they certainly did not &ldquoskedaddle.&rdquo Slowly, and in very fair order, they fell back, disputing every foot they gave up with the greatest obstinacy. Still our boys pushed onward with magnificent courage and determination, every man, from Hooker down, intent only on victory. Occasionally a more determined resistance at some point in the line or some difficulty in the ground would check our advance for a few moments but, with this exception, it was almost steady from its commencement until ten o&rsquoclock in the morning, when Gen. Hooker was wounded and carried from the field. General [James] Ricketts at once assumed command of the corps but our victorious movement had lost its impulse….While our advance rather faltered, the rebels greatly reinforced made a sudden and impetuous onset, and drove our gallant fellows back over a portion of the hard won field. What we had won, however, was not relinquished without a desperate struggle, and here up the hills and down, through the woods and the standing corn, over the ploughed land and the clover, the line of fire swept to and fro as one side or the other gained a temporary advantage.

And so it went, back and forth all day, the thrill of victory shattering into the agony of defeat and then back, over and over again. Press coverage of the action at Antietam naturally benefited from the first-person experience of the writer, who is never identified, and reading the coverage, it&rsquos almost possible to feel the reporter&rsquos heartbeat pick up and settle back down with each turn of fortune. Here, there was no such thing as unbiased coverage. Our Northern reporter rooted and rooted hard for &ldquoour boys.&rdquo From his vantage point, he could describe the contrails of artillery shot crisscrossing the sky and forming a fishnet of smoke. &ldquoFrom every little hill a battery thundered until the mountains seemed to be shaken with the roar.&rdquo

Above the din he heard an unfamiliar rustling, a &ldquostir and a murmur&rdquo that didn&rsquot quite fit. Then he turned and saw it&mdashMaj. Gen. William B. Franklin&rsquos VI Corps coming into play after Hooker had lost his early gains. For once, the writer curtly noted, the reinforcements did not arrive too late or too exhausted from their march to join the fight. Once again, the spirits of our correspondent are lifted: &ldquoTwo fresh divisions at such a time&mdashwhat can they not achieve?&rdquo It helped that by this time the Southern boys had left everything they had on the field, and could hardly be expected to stand before a new column of blue. But a lesson had been learned.

It didn&rsquot matter what the Confederate army looked like. It could fight like hell.

It is beyond all wonder how men such as the rebel troops are can fight as they do. That those ragged and filthy wretches, sick, hungry and in all ways miserable, should prove such heroes in fight, is past explanation. Men never fought better&mdashThere was one regiment that stood up before the fire of two or three of our long range batteries and of two regiments of infantry and though the air around them was vocal with the whistle of bullets and the scream of shells, there they stood and delivered their fire in perfect order, and there they continued to stand, until a battery of six light twelves was brought to bear on them and before that they broke.

Confident the situation to his right was in hand, the reporter turned his attention to his left, where General Ambrose Burnside was busy being Burnside. That is to say, the course of action alongside an arched, stone bridge over the Antietam Creek was not as purposeful as might have been hoped. The journalist was more polite than today&rsquos models. &ldquoWhether anyone &lsquoblundered&rsquo on the left is impossible for us to say.&rdquo

But there were clues. It was afternoon before Burnside could get his men across the creek, and once there he advanced until he found himself in a tight spot, raked by artillery. The day was saved, the writer assured his readers (perhaps too generously), when &ldquoword was passed along the hill for [Brig. Gen. George] Syke&rsquos [sic] men to &lsquofill in,&rsquo and the tough old soldiers of the regular regiments, who had been lounging on the hill, quiet spectators of the battle, hurried gladly into line, joyful at the prospect that their turn had come and there they stood, ready to check the progress of any sudden disaster.&rdquo

If, as many experts believed, the battle had ended as a tactical draw, no one bothered to tell the Torch Light: &ldquoLet it be clearly understood that we were only entirely successful on the left&mdashwe suffered no disaster.&rdquo The way things had been going for the Federals in the Eastern Theater that summer, &ldquosuffering no disaster&rdquo might have seemed like a great victory. But the reporter did get carried away when he stated the enemy was &ldquoflying in the direction of Winchester,&rdquo and unlikely to stop until it hit Richmond.

But the flush of &ldquovictory&rdquo quickly wore off. The sun came up the next morning on an appalling scene. What was recognizable on Tuesday, by Thursday was not. The Torch Light tried to wrap its prose around the calamity, but even its own correspondents understood the impossibility of the task.

To one who has never seen a battle-field it is impossible to describe intelligently this, or, indeed, any one. Old landmarks are forgotten or effaced, distance loses itself in the mind of the spectator, and space is measured only by the results which its occupancy produces. Thus has it been here. Corn and stubble, pasture and fallow contribute their boundaries to the one great charnel house of the nation&rsquos host, and on hill, in hollow, through field are strewn the bleeding, mangled bodies of dead and dying humanity.

The editors of the Herald of Freedom and Torch Light returned to their posts after the battle, and were mystified to find that while the Rebels had used the presses to print a few handbills, they had not destroyed the office. There was almost an element of disappointment that the Confederates had judged the newspaper to be of such low importance it wasn&rsquot worth wrecking.

In this sense they might have been correct: Southern Washington County, Md., still physically existed, but the war seemed to have hollowed out its soul. Shock was too tame a word, horror too mild an emotion.

But few persons can form even the faintest conception of the horrors presented by a battle-field, the eye beholds but the lips can but faintly express the misery here exhibited &mdash the soul is sickened, the heart grows faint. Here and there, in the ravaging course of the shells and shots may be seen the stalwart man, whose stout frame promised many years of natural existence, suddenly terminated by the death-dealing missile brought to bear upon our numerous and invincible hosts. The Union and the Rebel soldier, in many instances, lay close side by side, cold in death.

The paper described the region as mile after mile of triage. &ldquoFrom Hagerstown to the Southern limits of the county wounded and dying soldiers are to be found in every neighborhood and in nearly every house,&rdquo the papers reported. &ldquoThe whole region of country between Boonsboro and Sharpsburg is one vast hospital. Houses and Barns are filled with them, and nearly the whole population is engaged in waiting on and ministering to their wants.&rdquo Men missing arms, legs or eyes waited for help. Sometimes it came, sometimes not. &ldquoThe real horror can better be imagined than described, and a visit to the hospital where amputations are being made will fully impress the visitor with its startling horrors.&rdquo

The people of Sharpsburg, Boonsboro and Keedysville could either attend to the wounded or bury the dead that Rebels left on the field. They couldn&rsquot do both. &ldquoTheir dead were thickly strewn over every part of the field, and they left them for our men to bury. The number of dead was so great that up to Monday of this week many of them were still unburied, and the stench for miles around was almost intolerable.&rdquo Farmers such as Mumma and Miller looked out over what remained of their livelihood. For many, it had all vanished&mdashcrops, barns, homes, food. Winter was on the doorstep and what would there be to eat?

For some, the issue of food was more immediate. &ldquoThe region of country between Sharpsburg and Boonsboro has been eaten out of food of every description. The two armies of from eighty to a hundred thousand each have swept over it, and devoured everything within reach. At Sharpsburg, we understand that the rebels sacked the town, and when they left many of the citizens had not a morsel of food to eat.&rdquo

Then came the hordes that descended on battlefields like flies on carrion&mdashsightseers and photographers, tourists plucking grisly souvenirs, and heartbroken parents, searching for the faces of their boys. Carriages backed up for miles, as people far and wide came to see. Washington County never asked for the war, and it didn&rsquot ask for these people either.

But the people of the county endured. The paper bucked them up. The first blood had been spilled in Baltimore maybe it wasn&rsquot too much to hope the last blood, this blood, would be spilled at Sharpsburg. It wouldn&rsquot be, of course, and after witnessing the ferocity of the fight and the gumption of the enemy, the editors knew it.

But following the Battle of Antietam, they made their readers a promise: &ldquoWe shall continue with unabated zeal to oppose [the South&rsquos] unholy cause to the bitter end.&rdquo

GENERAL: Lieutenant Shunk has gone back to hurry up ordnance supplies of ammunition, &c. He informed me he had no supply of musket ammunition, but that there was plenty throughout the various division trains, and a supply might be taken for Morell's division from the trains wherever it could be found. He thought that Mansfield's corps was better supplied than any other.

Very respectfully, S. WILLIAMS,


GENERAL: General McClellan desires you to inform him the moment the head of Mansfield's corps comes up. The general will be for the present at General Hooker's headquarters.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant, GEO. D. RUGGLES.


Brevet Major-General SUMNER:

GENERAL: General McClellan desires you to move Mansfield's corps across the fords and bridge over the Antietam and to take such position as may be designated for it by General Hooker. General McClellan desires that all the artillery, ammunition, and everything else appertaining to the corps, be gotten over without fail to-night, ready for action early in the morning. He also desires you to have the other corps of your command ready to march one hour before daylight to-morrow morning.

I am, general, very respectfully your obedient servant, GEO. D. RUGGLES.

Colonel, Assistant Adjutant-General, and Aide-de-Camp.


GENERAL: General McClellan desires you to place two batteries in position on the ridge in rear of general headquarters. These batteries are intended to guard the Antietam between the fords and this point. He desires that these batteries be established before daybreak to-morrow morning.

I am, general very respectfully, your obedient servant, GEO. D. RUGGLES.


Centreville, September 16, 1862-7.45 a. M.

GENERAL: The man O'Sullivan, who passed through your lines yesterday as a bearer of dispatches to Colonel Miles, has returned and informs me that Miles surrendered unconditionally at 8 o'clock yesterday morning, and that the rebels on this side of the river were rapidly recrossing to the Virginia side by our pontoon bridge at Harper's Ferry. He did not see this with his own eyes, but was so informed by perseons in whom he has implicit confidence. I think the enemy has abandoned the posiiton in front of us, but the fog is so dense that I have not yet been enabled to determine. If the enemy is in force here, I shall attack him this morning. The instant I know whether he is still here or not I shall inform you.

I would again caution you to watch Knoxville and Berlin with a small cavalry force, so that no enemy can get in your rear.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, GEO. B. McCLELLAN,


GENERAL: General McClellan directs me to say that he still desires you to occupy Maryland Heights. If, however, this should prove impracticable, he thinks that you had better leave a small force at your present position, and join him with the remainder of your command.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Colonel, Aide-de-Camp, and Assistant Adjutant-General.


Near Centerville, September 16, 1862-.9.30 p. M.

GENERAL: General McClellan directs me to say that the enemy is stillin force in front of us. What news have you? And what is the condition of affairs with you? Please answer.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant, GEO. D. RUGGLES,


GENERAL: The commanding general desires you to collect all your cavalry, excepting such only as may be detached on important service, so as to have your command ready at a moment's notice, should it be required to make pursuit of the enemy.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant, GEO. D. RUGGLES.

Colonel, Assistant Adjutant-General, and Aide-de-Camp.


7. Brigadier General J. B. Carr will report to Brigadier General C. Grover, commanding division, Third Corps, for assignment by him to the command of a brigade of his division.

By command of Major-General Banks:

RICHD. B. IRWIN, Captain, Aide-de-Camp, and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia September 8,1862 - History

United States of America 1859-1861

The 33rd state to join the union was Oregon in 1859. This was our Flag for the next two years under Presidents James Buchanan (1857-1861) and Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865). At the outbreak of the Civil War (1861), President Lincoln refused to remove the stars representing those states which seceded from the Union.

The 33-Star "Great Star" Flag

Although never an official version of the United States flag, this very popular variant design was proudly displayed by many patriotic Americans. It was never officially used by the military or any government organization.

It should be noted here that Congress had never made any regulation about what type of star pattern should be used on the "official" United States flag. Therefore, any pattern was acceptable. The Navy regulated the star pattern on their "boat" flags to horizontal rows, but the Army and civil government did not. This explains the many different star patterns.

The 33-Star garrison flag that flew over Fort Sumter is sometimes called "the flag that started a war." The fort's commander was Major Anderson when the first shots of the American Civil War were fired in Charleston harbor. He surrendered to the Southern forces under General Beauregard after three days of token resistance. The only two casualties of the fighting were two Confederate privates killed when their cannon accidentally exploded.

Ever since the Mexican-American War (about 1845) the Army had followed an unofficial tradition of using a "diamond" pattern for the stars on their garrison flags. The Fort Sumter flag is a good example of this practice.

United States of America 1861-1863

In the first 3 months of the war a star was added when Kansas joined the Union in 1861. It remained our Flag for the next two years. President Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) was the only President to serve under this flag as the Civil War raged.

The 34-Star Great flower Design 1861-1863

The "Great Flower"" flag, also sometimes known as "The Candy Stripe"" flag because it sometimes had a red and white "candy stripe" (not shown here) running down the left side. Five asymmetric petal shapes loop out from the off-center heart of a graceful "Great Flower" pattern of thirty-four stars.

The flag designer, military units, or even the northern physical locations that this interesting flag design was used at are currently unclear.

This clever variant had five clusters of six stars each with the final four stars being centered on the top, sides and bottom. The five clusters of stars form a Saint Andrew's Cross and the four single stars form a Saint George's Cross. Because of this, this design was also called the "Great Cross" Flag.

34-Star Round

United States of America 1861-1863

These national presentation colors were manufactured by the Evans & Hassall Company of Philadelphia for all the Union New Jersey regiments after 1863.

United States of America (1863-1865)

This flag became our flag when West Virginia separated from Virginia to join the Union in 1863. It remained our flag until the close of the Civil War. Presidents Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) and Andrew Johnson (1865-1869) served under this flag.

A jack is a flag that looks like the union or canton of a national flag or ensign. In the Union (United States) Navy, it is a blue flag containing a star for each state. For countries whose colors have no canton, the jack is simply a small national ensign. On a sailing vessel, the jack is hoisted on the jack-staff (flag pole) on a military vessel's bow (front end) when at anchor or in port.

Union Mounted Troops Guidon 1862

This is the regulation 35-star cavalry guidon that was carried by Mounted Union Troops in the Civil War. The inner circle contains 12 stars, the outer circle includes 19 stars, and each corner includes a single star. It usually would be "customized" by placing a troop letter or other designator inside the circle of golden stars.

The U.S. Cavalry later used Stars and Stripe guidons in the Plains Indian Wars. In fact, the cavalry was the last of the three branches of service of the U.S. Army to carry the Stars and Stripes into battle. This was also one of the three flags that Colonel George A. Custer and the Seventh Cavalry carried at the Battle of Little Big Horn.

In the Army of the Potomac, the Cavalry Corps used a swallow-tailed guidon with white crossed sabres centered over two horizontal stripes. The red over blue colors designated General George Armstrong Custer's headquarters. Custer was the youngest man given the rank of Major General in US military history, but when the US Army was downsized in 1866, Custer, because he lacked seniority and time in rank was temporarily reduced to his last permanent rank of Captain. Because of his outstanding war record, he was soon promoted up to Lt. Colonel and placed in command of the newly formed 7th Cavalry.

This image is a reasonably accurate stylization of the four guidons which General Custer carried during the war all were red over blue with white crossed sabers, but all were different. Other versions can be seen on the Chart of More Northern Regimental and Unit Flags and on the Personal Guidons Chart of General George Armstrong Custer.

General Phil Sheridan's Army of the Shenandoah headquarters used this swallow-tailed guidon which was horizontally divided into a red over white striped field featuring two contrasting stars in the design.

Army of the Potomac HQ Flag

Major-General George Meade adopted this flag for the Army of the Potomac Headquarters. It was a swallow-tailed guidon featuring no strips, but with a golden colored eagle set within a silver wreath centered on a plain magenta field.

General Ambrose Burnsides HQ Flag

Before he commanded the Army of the Potomac, the badge, anchor and cannon devices were used on General Burnsides's swallow-tailed HQ flag of the Ninth Corps. When he took command of the whole Army of the Potomac his flag devices came with him.

General Reynold's HQ Flag

According to General Orders 10 of the Army of the Potomac, all headquarters flags were changed to blue swallow-tailed guidons with white Maltese crosses and the corps number in red numerals in the center. John Fulton Reynolds was commander of the 1st Corps, Army of the Potomac. He was killed at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863.

4th Infantry Regiment
Irish Brigade

The 28th Massachusetts, designated the 4th regiment Irish Brigade, was commanded by General Meagher from 1861 until 1863. The unit's fame began at the first major engagement of the American Civil War. At the battle of Bull Run, the Union army was badly beaten and routed, but the Irish regiment had charged bravely and stubbornly held its ground. Even after its commander was wounded and captured, the Irish retreated in good order while panicked Union soldiers swarmed around them. Because of this, the "Irish" were usually placed in the center of the Union line and the rebels always knew when an attack was coming because the green flag with the golden harp of old Ireland was always at the head of every Union charge for the remainder of the war.

20th Maine Regiment Flag

The 20th Maine was organized in the state of Maine in 1862. It became part of the 1st Division of the V Corps of the Army of the Potomac. The regiment served at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Station, Mine Run, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Totopotomoy and Bethesda Church, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Five Forks, and Appomattox.

At the Battle of Gettysburg, the regiment under the command of Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, was stationed on Little Round Top at the extreme left of the Union line. It was here that the regiment fought its most famous action. When the regiment came under heavy attack from the Confederate 15th Alabama, which was attempting to flank the Union position, and completely ran out of ammunition, it responded by charging downhill with fixed bayonets, empty rifles, and in desperate hand-to-hand combat ending the Confederate attack and turned the tide of the battle. This famous action is depicted in the novels "The Killer Angels," and "Courage on Little Round Top", and subsequently became an important scene in the movie "Gettysburg."

The South - The Confederate States of America

Proposed Confederate Flag

Army of the Peninsula
Battle Flag

3rd Kentucky Mounted Infantry

Major-General John P. McCown was appointed to command of a division of the Confederate Army of the West in March of 1862. His troops, organized in two brigades, came from Texas and Arkansas. McCown was of Scottish descent, which probably explains the design of his battle flag for his division: Scotland's Cross of St. Andrew, a white saltire on a blue field.

This particular flag is that of the 39th North Carolina. The other remaining flags of this pattern have no red corners. This flag was probably issued to the Army of Kentucky in addition to McCown's Division.

When General Earl Van Dorn was assigned a Corps in the Army of the West in the trans-Mississippi theater, he personally designed this type flag for his command. Known as a "Van Dorn flag," it saw use until after the fall of Vicksburg in the west.

When General Van Dorn became Commander of the Army of the West in 1862 his flag came with him. Arriving too late to fight at Shiloh, Van Dorn's troops began adopting this flag in June, with the first issues (with slightly different star pattern and fringed edges) going to the Missouri Brigade. In August, the rest of the army received these flags which first saw use at Iuka and Corinth where some examples were captured. The crescent is taken from the Missouri state Coat of Arms was was designed to inspire Missouri troops as they crossed east of the Mississippi River.

Proposed Confederate Independence Flag 1861

This flag was one that may have been proposed as a design for the Confederate States of America in 1861. The original of this flag was a flag formerly in the collection of Boleslaw & Marie-Louise d'Otrange-Mastai. It is illustrated, in their landmark book "The Stars and the Stripes," on page 136 wherein they identified it as the 1861 proposal for a flag of the new Confederate States of America. Its actual identification remains speculative, but the original flag was sold in 2002 at auction by Sotheby's as one of four pieces in a set for $7,768.00.

A modern replica version, in miniature and full size, identified as a Confederate Battle Ensign, was widely available during the American Revolution Bicentennial Celebration in 1975. It was made by a short-lived California flag company, the Golden State Flag Company, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the United States. They were widely marketed through several grocery store chains, including Safeway and Pathmark.

Republic of Mississippi Flag

The first recorded use of the lone star flag dates back to 1810 when a troop of West Florida dragoons set out for the Spanish provincial capitol at Baton Rouge under this flag. They were joined by other republican forces and captured Baton Rouge, imprisoned the Spanish Governor and raised their Bonnie Blue flag over the Fort of Baton Rouge. Three days later the president of the West Florida Convention, signed a Declaration of Independence and the flag became the emblem of a short-lived new republic. By December the flag of the United States replaced the blue lone star flag after President Madison issued a proclamation declaring West Florida under the jurisdiction of the Governor of the Louisiana Territory. The lone star flag was used by the Republic of Texas from 1836 to 1839, and in 1861 became the first flag of the Confederacy.

The lone star flag was flown at the "Convention of the People" in Mississippi on January 9, 1861. It was later celebrated in the popular song "The Bonnie Blue Flag" (see lyrics) which was sung by southern troops on their way to battle. Although never officially one of the national flags of the Confederate States of America, it was considered one by the soldiers and southern people. The units from Louisiana and Texas adopted the Bonnie Blue as their official banner of the Confederacy.

First Confederate National Flag
(first version - March 4, 1861 to May 21, 1861)

This flag was adopted, but never officially enacted. In their haste to have a flag prepared for the flag raising ceremony on March 4, 1861, the Confederate Congress neglected to formally enact a flag law. When this flag was first raised over the capitol building in Montgomery, it contained seven stars, representing the Confederate States. This was also the flag used by the Confederate Army of the Potomac under General Beauregard at the First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas) in 1861. This design was also used as the Confederate Naval Ensign between 1861-1863.

Strangely enough, one of the most persistent myths about Confederate flags concerns the First National flag. This myth states that this flag only saw combat at the First Battle of Bull Run, and was then replaced by the Army of Northern Virginia Battle flag (see below). In reality, of all the types of Confederate flags, this First National Flag (and its different versions) saw more battle service than any other and was still in use at the end of the war.

First Confederate National Flag
(second version - May 21, 1861 to July 2, 1861)

By the third week of April of 1861 two more stars needed to be added to the First Confederate National flag representing Virginia and Arkansas. The official change happened on May 1, 1861 with the addition of these two stars to the blue canton of the flag.

In reality, there was really no "correct" version of these flag since they came in the late days of Jacksonian America, where most flags were hand-made, and people pretty much did what they wanted with making flags.

First Confederate National Flag
(third version - July 2, 1861 to November 28, 1861)

Much like the flag of the United States the Confederate States added stars as they added states. By May, North Carolina was added, and by June Tennessee had joined to increase the number to eleven.

The actual number of states to join the Confederacy was eleven, thus possibly making this flag the most correct, however, eventually 13 stars were added (see below).

First Confederate National Flag
(final version - November 28, 1861 to May 1, 1863)

The First National Flag eventually had 13 stars. The admission of Kentucky and Missouri in September and December brought the circle of stars to thirteen. During battle this flag was sometimes confused with the Union Stars and Stripes, therefore it was replaced by the 2nd National flag in 1863. Although there were only 11 states in the Confederacy, there were stars added for Missouri and Kentucky because both sides claimed these states. Missouri and Kentucky actually had two state governments: the elected governments which seceded and joined the Confederate States, and provisional governments created by the Union who actually held them.

In actuality, there were multiple versions of this flag. Examples on file include those with a single star as well as these star counts - 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 , 15 and 17.

Second Confederate National Flag

Although popular legend states that because the pattern and colors of the Stars and Bars flag did not distinguish it sharply from the Stars and Stripes of the Union, it sometimes led to confusion on the battlefield. So the legend states it was decided to design a new flag for the Confederate States that was in no way similar to the Union's Stars and Stripes. However, the real reason this flag was designed had nothing to do with the U.S. flag. It had more to do with the Confederate Congress seeking a more "Confederate" flag, to honor the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, and to replace the First National Flag which had split feelings in the South.

Therefore, on May 1, 1863, a second design was adopted, using the "Southern Cross" Battle Flag as the canton on a simple white field. This second design was sometimes called "the Stainless Banner" and is sometimes referred to as the "Stonewall Jackson Flag" because its first use was to cover Stonewall Jackson's coffin at his funeral. The nickname "stainless" referred to the pure white field. This design was also used as the Confederate Naval Ensign between 1863-1865.

Second National Flag
(possible variant)

Second Confederate National Flag (or regimental colors)

This interesting Second Confederate National Flag, with its reversed colors in the canton, was captured at the Battle of Paine's Cross Roads (Painesville) in Virginia near the end of the Civil War in 1865 by Sgt. John A. Davidsizer of the 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry. This action involved the burning of Confederate supply wagons at Painesville, Virginia, and seven Medals of Honor were awarded to Union soldiers as a result of this one action.

It should noted here that the Medal of Honor was routinely awarded for capturing the rebel flag during a Civil War battle, and the possibly exists that these units simply overtook the wagons and just plundered them for the flags before burning them, as this was not a pitched battle. It is even unclear if this flag is a variant Confederate national flag or an unidentified regimental color. It is currently housed in the collection of the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia.

Third Confederate National Flag

It was soon discovered that the Second Confederate National Flag (see above) was easily mistaken for either a white flag of surrender or parlay flag, especially when the air was calm and the flag hung limply, and it was decided that this flag also had to be modified. In 1865 it was officially replaced by this Third and last Confederate National flag which had a large vertical red stripe placed along its right edge.

Although not widely used because of the rapidly approaching end of the war, the flag was reported in Richmond newspapers in December of 1864 and by January of 1865, examples of this pattern were flying over Richmond hospitals and units of the James River Squadron. Some examples were also used as unit battle flags until the South surrendered on April 9th.

Army of Northern Virginia
Battle Flag

Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag

Because the colors that different commands and regiments carried on the field were a major means of identification, local commanders designed special battle flags to distinguish units during battles. The most famous of these Confederate Battle flags was that of the Army of Northern Virginia.

The famous "Southern Cross" design was born when Southern Congressman William Miles suggested the design to General Beauregard, who took it to the army's commander General Johnston. The first battle flag was made in September of 1861 by Hettie, Jennie, and Constance Cary of Richmond.

Army of the Peninsula Battle Flag

The Confederate Army of the Peninsula was under the command of Confederate General John Magruder in the early days of the American Civil War, and it was General Magruder who ordered this flag made for his command in April of 1862.

The Army of the Peninsula fought against the invading Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Union General John McClellan, from late 1861 until June of 1862 before being merged with the newly reorganized Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, now under the command of the legendary General Robert E. Lee.

Naval Jack until 1863

Confederate States of America First Naval Jack

The First Confederate Navy Jack consisted of a circle of seven 5-pointed white stars on a field of light blue. Since a jack is a flag that looks like the union or canton of a national flag, the first Confederate Naval Jack was a blue flag containing seven stars just like the canton on the Stars and Bars. On a sailing vessel, the jack is hoisted on the jack-staff (flag pole) on a military vessel's bow (front end) when at anchor or in port.

The Second Confederate Navy Jack

The Second Naval Jack is basically a rectangular version of the "Southern Cross" as found on the canton of the Second Confederate National flag. The blue color in the saltire (the diagonal cross), however, is much lighter than on the national flag or the battle flag. It was flown by Confederate warships from 1863 to 1865.

After taking command of Confederate forces of the west in 1864, General Joseph Johnston modified the square Army of Virginia Battle flag for his Army of Tennessee, changing it to a rectangular shape similar to the Confederate Navy Jack. The attempt was met with disfavor by western commands who had fought under different flags earlier in the war. However, this rectangular flag later became the official flag of the United Confederate Veterans after the war, and today is mistakenly accepted as the "Confederate Flag."

First Florida Volunteer Division - 1863

First Regiment of Florida Volunteer Infantry Flag

The 1st Florida Volunteer Infantry was organized at the Chattahoochee Arsenal during March of 1861. The unit fought long and hard throughout the war and was at nearly every major battle in which the Confederate Army of Tennessee was engaged.

3rd Kentucky Mounted Infantry Regiment Flag

The 3rd Kentucky Infantry was organized in 1861 in Tennessee. It was a part of Kentucky's "Orphan Brigade," until late 1862 when it was reassigned to the Army of Tennessee. Further research now shows that these flags were not just for the Orphan Brigade but, rather, were the battle flags of General John Breckinridge's whole division. Formerly, the Reserve Corps at Shiloh, it was the only command at the Battle of Shiloh without standardized battle flags and in May of 1862, the division adopted these flags and continued to use them into 1863.

The 3rd Regiment became mounted in 1864 and would serve in Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama. As a mounted regiment it was removed from the Army of Tennessee and remained to fight in Mississippi under Nathan Bedford Forrest. On May 4, 1865, what was left of the regiment surrendered at Meridian, Mississippi.

Cummings' White Cross Battle Flag 1863

During the siege of Vicksburg, the Confederate volunteers from Georgia under the command of Brigadier General Alfred Cumming used this battle flag. It was one of the famous White Cross Battle Flags used by the Vicksburg Garrison in its struggle with the Union Army of the Tennessee of Union General U.S. Grant. This brigade was part of Carter Stevenson's Division, which probably all used similar flags, but only the flag of the 39th Georgia survives of this pattern.

The Confederate "Army of Tennessee" was named after the state, the Union "Army of the Tennessee" was named after the river, much to the confusion of history students ever since.

Missouri Raid Battle Flag

Bowen's White Cross Battle Flag 1863

General John Bowen's command established a distinguished combat record as a fighting division of the Army of the West at such places as Carthage, Wilson's Creek, Vicksburg, and Atlanta. According to legend General Bowen's wife smuggled in their first battle flag of this pattern into the Vicksburg siege. It had a blue field bordered in red and a white Latin cross set off-center toward the hoist edge.

The flag was used by all the brigades under Bowen's command. These flags first appeared in February of 1863. A later version was used by the troops of General Sterling Price's army in their 1864 Missouri raid.

3rd Tennessee Hardee Battle Flag

The earliest western Confederate battle flag was flown in Hardee's Corps of the Army of Tennessee. It had been designed by General Simon B. Buckner and first issued to his troops in January of 1862, who were part of the Army of Central Kentucky based in Bowling Green. It first saw action at Ft. Donelson where some of Buckner's Division had been transferred. What remained of the army after this transfer became General William J. Hardee's Corps, which retained the flag.

It's simple design of a blue field and a white center became known as Hardee's Battle Flag. Each Unit's flag were soon inscribed with names of battles they fought in. Later versions had white borders all around. Because of the large number of Tennessee regiments using this flag design it is sometimes referred to as the "Tennessee Moon" flag.

54th Georgia Infantry Volunteer Hardee Flag 1864

The 54th Georgia Infantry Volunteers were first formed in May of 1862. They were part of General Hugh Mercer's Brigade which had carried Charleston Depot battle flags as part of General William H.T. Walker's Division. Assigned to General Patrick Cleburne's Division in late July, 1864, the brigade finally received their Cleburne/Hardee battle flags after Atlanta's fall, just prior to the Tennessee Campaign.

By 1865, the Southern armies had taken so many casualties that they were consolidating units together to maintain their ability to fight. Two such units, the 4th Battalion Sharpshooters and the 37th Regiment Georgia Infantry were joined together with the 54th Georgia Volunteers Regiment in April of 1865 in North Carolina.

Cleburne's Texas Cavalry (dismounted) Hardee Battle Flag 1864

In November of 1863, the 17th and 18th Texas received their new flannel Hardee flags inscribed with the battle honors of the previous campaigns: Arkansas Post, Chickamauga, Tunnel Hill, and Ringgold Gap. During the Atlanta Campaign, the units participated in some of the hardest fighting of the war. This is the flag of the combined 17th and 18th Texas, it was not issued to the regiment until sometime in early 1864, when the rest of Cleburne's Division got new battle flags.

On July 22, 1864, while fighting in the Confederate front lines, the 18 Texas became cut-off, and nearly surrounded, forcing the surrender of a large number of its men. After a brief hand-to-hand struggle, the battle flag was taken by Union General William T. Clark. After the war, veterans of the 18th Texas made considerable efforts to locate their flag, which in 1914 was returned to Texas by General Clark's widow.

Recent speculation has questioned this flags identity, suggesting that it may have belonged to Good's Battery instead.

Hart’s Battery (Dallas Artillery) 1861-1862
(Second Arkansas Field Battery 1863)

The confusing history of Hart’s Battery started in northwest Arkansas and the Indian Territory where the artillery unit served as part of the Second Brigade of McCulloch’s Division during the winter of 1861-1862. At the two-day Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern) on March 7-8, 1862, the Yankees captured two of the battery’s guns, along with its colors. For reasons that are still unclear, the battery was then disbanded "for shameful conduct in the presence of the enemy." Apparently cleared of the charges, the battery (or a new one using the same name) was reconstituted in late 1862, just in time to be part of another disaster.

Assigned to Colonel Robert R. Garland’s Texas Brigade at Fort Hindman (Arkansas Post), the battery was again captured with the rest of the garrison when Confederate forces surrendered on January 11, 1863. Although this surrender is also a subject of controversy, from all accounts, Hart’s Battery served their guns professionally and courageously during the siege. After being exchanged in April 1863, Hart's Battery (or a new one using the same name) was once again reconstituted, and possibly spent the remainder of the war in the Trans-Mississippi Army as part of the Second Arkansas Field Battery. There are few references to the name "Hart’s Battery" during the last year of the war.

This was a battle version of the First Confederate National Flag captured by Union forces at the Battle of Pea Ridge (Elk Horn Tavern) from an unidentified Arkansas brigade. It was made of wool flannel, with the words "Jeff. Davis" worked in black velvet letters.

At the Battle of Pea Ridge, two Confederate flags were taken from the forces of General McCulloch (see Hart's above). This was one of them.

Hood's Texas Brigade Flag

Fifth Infantry Regiment, Texas Volunteers 1861

The Texas Brigade (Hood' Brigade) was an infantry brigade that distinguished itself for its fierce tenacity and fighting capability. The original Texas Brigade (1st, 4th, and 5th Texas regiments) was organized in 1861, and gained fame under its second commander John Bell Hood. The brigade fought in the Seven Days Battle, (Gaines' Mill), Second Manassas, Gettysburg (Devil's Den), Seven Pines, Seven Days Battle, South Mountain, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, The Wilderness, Chickamauga and during the Knoxville Campaign. Of the estimated 5,353 men who enlisted only 617 remained to surrender at Appomattox Court House in 1865. The Texas Brigade, along with the Stonewall Brigade from Virginia, were considered to be the main shock troops of the Army of Northern Virginia. For much of the war, the Brigade was assigned to Longstreet’s Corps.

The flag of Hood's Texas Brigade was a combination of the Confederate First National Flag and the Flag of the Republic of Texas. The Fifth Texas had great pride for the flag they called their "Lone-Star Flag."

As part of the Army of the West and later the Army of Tennessee, the 10th Texas was first organized in 1861 as cavalry, but dismounted in 1862, and fought the rest of the war as infantry. As part of McCown's Division they fought at Corinth, Vicksburg, Richmond, Jackson, Chickamauga, and Atlanta before surrendering at Citronelle, Alabama, on May 4, 1865.

General Lee's Headquarters (HQ) 1862-1863

General Lee's Headquarters flag, used between June of 1962 and the summer of 1863, has an unusual star arrangement that was believed to have been designed by his wife Mary to reflect the Biblical Arch of the Covenant. According to legend this flag was actually hand-made by Mary Custis and their daughters.

It is currently housed in the collection of the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia.

This was the first version of the famous Polk Battle Flag (13 stars). It was designed by Major-General Leonidas Polk for use by his "1st Grand Division" (corps) of the Army of the Mississippi. Polk had seen how Confederate troops using the CSA First National Flag (the Stars and Bars) could, because of its similarity to the Stars and Stripes, become confused on the battlefield, and decided to design his own that would not be mistaken for an Union flag. This flag saw action from Shiloh through the final surrender of the Army of Tennessee. The red St. George's cross was the symbol of the Episcopal Church. Polk was the Bishop of Louisiana.

16th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry Regiment Polk flag

This unit fought at most of the major battles of the Army of Tennessee including Corinth, Mumfordsville, Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Missionary Ridge, Franklin, and Nashville. They surrendered to Union forces at Bennett Farm, which today is the City of Durham in Durham County, North Carolina.

They used a second version of the Polk Battle Flag, issued in the summer of 1862, which had a cross edged with white and only 11 stars. The Polk Battle Flag continued in service through 1863.

Second Cherokee Mounted Rifles 1862

This flag was first presented to Chief John Ross by Commissioner Albert Pike in 1861, and in 1862 became the first national flag ever carried by Cherokee troops in combat under the command of Colonel Stand Watie, a Cherokee Indian himself. It also began a military career that eventual allowed Watie to became one of only two native Americans on either side to ever become a general. His light calvary command participated in 27 major engagements and numerous smaller skirmishes. Most of their activities utilized guerrilla warfare tactics and Watie's men launched raids throughout the northern-held Indian Territory, Kansas and Missouri. He is credited with tying down thousands of Union troops. Watie was promoted to brigadier general in 1864. On June 23, 1865, he became the last Confederate general to surrender at the end of the war.

This flag still exists and is part of a collection of Confederate flags located at the Wilson's Creek National Battlefield Visitors Center located near Springfield, Missouri.

1st Choctaw Battalion Cavalry 1863

About 200 Choctaw braves enlisted in the Confederate service early in 1863, under the command of Major Pearce, and soon afterward found themselves in a disastrous engagement with Union soldiers at Tangipahoe. They flew this distinct banner which features the native weapons of the Choctaw tribe. Many of the Indians and several of the white officers were captured at the battle and some of the Indians were taken North and put on exhibition. This put an end to the battalion as a formal organization, but some of the Choctaws later became dismounted scouts in Spann's Battalion of Independent Scouts.

Annie Fickle´s Flag

Quantrill´s Raiders
modern fantasty flag

Quantrill´s Raiders 1862-1865

Quantrill´s Raiders were a loosely organized force of Confederate raiders who fought in the American Civil War under the leadership of William Clarke Quantrill. He and his men ambushed Union patrols and supply convoys, seized the mail, and occasionally struck towns on either side of the Kansas-Missouri border. The name "Quantrill´s Raiders" seems to have been attached to them long after the war, when the veterans would hold reunions. The same thing can be said about their flag.

According to local legend, Annie Fickle of Lafayette County presented a battle flag to Quantrill´s men in thanks for helping her get out of a Yankee prison where she was being held for aiding the enemy. In red letters, she stitched the name "Quantrell," a misspelling, on a plain black flag. The raiders appreciated her gift and carried the standard into several battles. Although Quantrill was killed in Kentucky in 1865, his "legacy" would live on, when many of his men continued on as outlaws after the Civil War.

One example would be that of Frank James and the "James-Younger Gang," including, of course, the infamous and often "Robin Hoodish" legends of Jesse James.

Bath County Volunteers

Bath County Volunteers (Virginia) 1861-65

This is a company battle flag for a company of Confederate infantry raised in Bath County, Virginia. It saw service all through the war, and which was presented by the ladies of Bath County.

The flag is made of fine blue silk with a series of ornate, white scrolls in the center. At the top of the flag it reads "Presented by the Ladies of Bath," and at the bottom reads "God Protect the Right."

10th Tennessee Flag

10th Tennessee Irish Infantry Brigade

The unlucky 10th Tennessee Infantry was organized in 1861, just a few weeks after the first shot was fired at Fort Sumpter. The "Sons of Erin's" motto was "Go where Glory Waits You." At the fighting at Fort Donelson the 10th Tennessee suffered severe losses and earned the nickname of "The Bloody Tenth." After the surrender of Fort Donelson, the field and staff officers were taken as prisoners of war, moved to Fort Warren and Camp Douglas where they received cruel treatment, but were eventually exchanged in 1862. The reunited 10th Brigade was then ordered to Vicksburg where they suffered another bloody defeat at the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou. They continued to fight for the losing cause until the end of the war. There were less than 100 men left in the 10th Tennessee Infantry at the closing of the war, and every one of them had been wounded, many times.

Third Texas Infantry Battle Flag 1861-1865

Colonel Philip N. Luckett organized the Third Texas Infantry in the summer of 1861. The men of the Third came largely from Central Texas, specifically Bexar, Gillespie, San Patricio, and Travis counties. As these counties were heavily populated with recent German immigrants and persons of Mexican descent, a large number of the regiment's men were foreign-born. The Third Texas Infantry saw little action during the war, suffered from low morale, verged on mutiny, and had a high desertion rate.

The Third was first assigned to the defense of San Antonio (1861-1862), then moved to Brownsville and Galveston in 1863 to protect cotton shipments and guard against raids from Mexico. In 1864, they were moved to the lower Brazos and San Bernard rivers where they apparently spent their time occassionally firing at Union gunboats on the rivers. The regiment only saw one actual battle during the war. During the Red River campaign they fought in the Battle of Jenkins Ferry on April 30, 1864. The following year General Edmund Kirby Smith surrendered the regiment at Galveston, where it was disbanded at the war's end.

Their flag was presented to the Third Texas Infantry by Mrs Phelps of New Orleans, who had it made in Havana. The reversal of blue and red colors on their battle flag is attributed to a misunderstanding of the correct color pattern of the Army of Northern Virginia. Later, several other Confederate battle flags from the Trans-Mississippi Department, also thought to be of Cuban manufacture, displayed the same color reversal.

California Confederate Flag

During the first year of the Civil War, this flag was captured in Sacramento, California. The creator was a Major J.P. Gillis, who flew the flag on the 4th of July, 1861. Major Gillis claimed he was celebrating the independence of the United States from Britain as well as the southern states from the Union. He unfurled his Confederate flag and proceeded to march down the main street of Sacramento to delight of the onlookers. The flag was of his own design and the canton contains seventeen stars rather than the Confederate's seven.

Because the flag was "captured" by Jack Biderman and Curtis Clark, who were enraged by Gillis' actions, the flag is often also referred to as the "Biderman Flag." Poor Clark, nobody ever refered to the flag as "The Clark Flag," except here.

South Carolina Sovereign Flag

South Carolina Sovereignty Flag 1860

This is a version of an early flag raised over South Carolina shortly after its secession from the Union in 1860 (it was also supposed to have been raised over Yale University by sympathizers).

It is called the South Carolina Sovereignty Flag and was supposed to have been an inspiration for the Confederate flag in its later form.

Citadel Battery Flag 1861
Captured in 1865 by the 20th Iowa

Big Red
Modern version of The Citadel Flag

In early 1861, after South Carolina seceded from the United States, her military forces took possession of all military installations around Charleston harbor, except Fort Sumter. One of the smaller installations, or batteries, was manned by cadets from the South Carolina Military Institute, also known as "The Citadel." The flag flown over the battery manned by the Citadel cadets was a red field with a white palmetto and crescent. These cadets had the distinction of having actually fired the first shots in what was to become the Civil War. They fired warning shots at the steamer "Star of the West," which had been despatched by President Buchanan to supply the garrison at Fort Sumter. The "Star of the West" was turned back by the artillery fire. The "Palmetto Battery" continued to serve until April of 1865 when it and its flag was captured at Mobile by the 20th Iowa. The flag remained in the Iowa State Historical Society Museum Collection unrecognized and labeled "Unidentified - Red Palmetto" until its rediscovery in the 1960s. It is now on a long term loan from the Iowa State Historical Society and being displayed at the Citadel and seen daily by the proud students. The original bright red background has faded to dull maroon, and the white Palmetto tree has discolored down to a brownish gold.

A similar red flag with a white palmetto tree and crescent has since been adopted as the unofficial flag of The Citadel Military Institute. It is today affectionately known as "Big Red." For some undocumented reason the crescent on the 1861 Citadel Battery Flag is facing the opposite direction as found on the modern South Carolina State flag and the current Citadel flag. Perhaps this is because South Carolina's present flag is a design that was formulated as a possible national banner when the state seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860, and it had a reversed crescent. Since the firing upon the "Star of the West" took place less than three weeks after the Ordinances of Session were adopted by South Carolina, this may have been caused by a verbal description being misinterpreted before standardization could occur.

Louisiana Confederate Flag

Confederate State of Louisiana Flag 1861-1865

This flag of Louisiana was adopted in 1861. Although it is sometimes referred to as the flag of the Republic of Louisiana, this is not accurate, because this was actually the flag of Louisiana as a Confederate State. Louisiana has always been proud of its Spanish and French heritage. Although the flag is obviously based on the design of the U.S. Flag with a square canton and 13 stripes, the canton is colored red with a single yellow star honoring the colors of the Spanish flag, and the stripes of blue, white, and red honored the colors of the French flag.

Mississippi Confederate Flag

Confederate State of Mississippi Flag 1861-1865

The official flag of Mississippi during the War for Southern Independence was a white flag with a magnolia tree in natural colors. The canton was blue and had a single white star. The fly was a thin red bar extending vertically the length of the flag sometimes it included red fringe as well. The flag was so popular Mississippi became known as the "Magnolia State." Although possibly originally a mythical or suppositious flag, popular usage has claimed this design and it was used as the state flag until 1894 when the present flag was adopted.

A version of this flag was also said to be used by the 3rd Mississippi Infantry as a regimental flag during the war. However, according to well-known Mississippi flag scholar (Vexillologist) Clay Moss, it was probably adopted after the war as the 3rd Mississippi United Confederate Veterans (UCV) Regimental flag. His research into this particular Magnolia flag is still ongoing.

North Carolina Confederate

Confederate State of North Carolina Flag 1861-1865

The first ten regiments of North Carolina Volunteer Troops (Later renamed the 11th through 20th North Carolina regiments) received this silk state flag made in Norfolk, Virginia by a private contractor. Later, in 1862, the state provided these regiments wool and cotton versions of the state flag made in Raleigh.

The only other Confederate state that made such an effort to issue state flags, was Virginia. Virginia issued state flags from 1861 into 1865 for her regiments.

Confederate State of Florida Flag 1861-1865

After Florida seceded from the Union in January 1861, a number of unofficial flags flew over the state. The general assembly passed an act directing Governor Madison Perry to adopt "an appropriate device for a State flag which shall be distinctive in character." Six months later the Governor had the Secretary of State record the description of Florida's first official flag.

Although we only have a written description of this flag, and none survive today, this reconstruction is pretty accurate according to flag scholars and is being reproduced today and in use by various groups.

Palmetto Guard Flag

Company C, South Carolina 18th Artillery Battalion

Company C was part of the South Carolina 18th Heavy Artillery Battalion, also called the "Siege Train Artillery Battalion" and the "Palmetto Guard," The 18th was organized in 1862 with three companies in Charleston, South Carolina.

The Guard fought at Fort Sumter, Grimball's Landing, Battery Wagner, James Island, and John's Island. In 1864, Company C was transferred to Pegram's Battalion of Artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia and fought its last battle as artillery at the Petersburg. What remained after the Petersburg siege, served as infantry in the Army of Tennessee, which surrendered in April of 1865.

Watch the video: Ο Μακεδονικός Στρατός ΕλληνικοίΑγγλικοί υπότιτλοι - Αρχαία Ελληνική Ιστορία. Alpha Ωmega (August 2022).