Captured Flag of 61st Tennessee


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#2
A friend of mine found this article published in an Ashland, Oregon newspaper dated March 3, 1913.

I was wondering if anyone here like @east tennessee roots or anyone else knows where this flag might be today?

Thanks!!
View attachment 176972
One flag captured at Big Black, is reportedly still in Des Monies, in the possession of the Iowa Department of Archives and History. It's not clear who the flag belonged to, but it's believed to be either the 60th or 61st Tennessee. It's a large 1st National Flag, with 13 seven-pointed stars, arranged in a circle on the blue field. One white bar of these "Stars & Bars", has the words, "In God We Trust". Tennessee has repeatedly tried to no avail, to have the flag returned.

My guess is, Captain Rawlings' descendants still have the 61st's flag.
 
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Messages
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#4
By Guy
E. Logan

HISTORICAL SKETCH

TWENTY-THIRD REGIMENT IOWA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY

http://iagenweb.org/civilwar/books/logan/mil507.htm


7 War of the Rebellion Official Records, Series 1, Part 1, Vol. 24, pages 628

The total losses of the two brigades Of General Carr's Division in the battle of Port Gibson

were 263 killed and wounded; the total losses of the Second Brigade were 101 killed and

wounded; the loss Of the Twenty-third Iowa was 9 killed and 26 wounded,—the heaviest loss

sustained by any regiment in the brigade. Among the wounded were Captain William R. Henry

and Lieutenant D. P. Ballard.

The regiment took part in the various movements of its brigade and division, which led up to

the battle of Champion's Hill on the 16th of May, 1863. In that hard fought battle, General Carr's

Fourteenth Division was held in reserve, until very near its close, when it was ordered forward in

pursuit of the retreating enemy and succeeded in capturing a considerable number of prisoners

and a large quantity of army stores, but the order was not given in time to enable General Carr to

cut off the retreat of the rebel army, which fell back to its strongly fortified position on Big Black

River, closely followed by the Fourteenth Division, which led the advance. The march was

conducted with great vigor and, at 10 A. M., on May 17th, the pickets of the enemy were driven

8

in. The Second Brigade was now under the command of General M. K. Lawler, from whose

extended official report of the battle which ensued the following brief extracts are taken:

. . . I was instructed by the Brigadier General commanding the division to move forward slowly

and cautiously with my command, and develop and press back, if possible, the enemy's left.

Accordingly I ordered Colonel C. L. Harris, Eleventh Wisconsin, who held the left of our new

position, to move his regiment forward through the woods in his front, his skirmishers covering

his advance, and the Twenty-third Iowa, Colonel Kinsman, to follow him at a distance of 100

yards as a support. At the same time I advanced the Twentyfirst

Iowa, Colonel Samuel Merrill, into the cleared field skirting Big Black River, with

instructions to move forward on a line with the Eleventh Wisconsin. The Peoria Battery was left

in position on the rising ground in the edge of the field, and the Twenty-second Iowa in rear as a

reserve and support. Meanwhile there had commenced a spirited artillery engagement between

the battery of Benton's Brigade and the enemy's cannon in position behind their works. The

skirmishers of the First Brigade were actively engaged, and those of the Eleventh Wisconsin,

which regiment advanced steadily forward through the timber to the field in front of the enemy's

works, and distant from them about 400 yards. Here I ordered it to halt, and move down to the

right through the field skirting the river, and take position In the woods and brush lining this

stream. This movement Colonel Harris promptly executed, reaching the position designated

without serious loss, though exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy's sharpshooters. The

Twenty-third Iowa, Colonel Kinsman, having come up after the Eleventh Wisconsin, was

ordered to make a similar movement to the right, and to move up under cover of the river bank

and take position on the right of the Eleventh Wisconsin and as close as possible to the enemy's

works, and the Twenty-first Iowa, Colonel Merrill, to take position on the bank between these

two regiments. I also directed the Peoria Battery to take position in the open field in front of the

left of the enemy and to open an enfilading fire on their center batteries, with which the battery

of Benton's Brigade was engaged. At the same time the Twenty-second Iowa, Colonel Stone,

was ordered to move forward on the left of the field to within supporting distance. These orders

were quickly responded to, and the position thus occupied by the brigade continued to be held

without material variation, During the greater part of the forenoon heavy but ineffectual

musketry firing was kept up by the enemy upon my men, briskly responded to by our

sharpshooters. Late in the forenoon, finding it impossible to press farther forward along the river

bank toward the enemy, as I had intended, Colonel Kinsman, Twenty-third Iowa, proposed to

charge at once the enemy's works and drive them out at the point of the bayonet, and asked my

consent to the same. Foreseeing that a charge by a single regiment, unsustained by the whole

line, against fortifications as formidable as those in his front could hardly be successful, at the

same time I gave my consent to his daring proposition, I determined that there should be a

simultaneous movement on the part of my whole command. Accordingly, the Twenty-first Iowa,

Colonel Merrill, was ordered to charge with the Twenty-third, the Eleventh Wisconsin following

close upon them as a support, and the Twenty-second Iowa, Colonel Stone,—which had in the

meantime crossed the field and taken position on the river bank on the right of the Eleventh

Wisconsin,—were ordered to move out into the field and act as a reserve force.... Orders were

further given that the men should reserve their fire until upon the rebel works. Finally the

regiments that were to lead the charge were formed, with bayonets fixed, in the edge of the

woods on the river bank. All things being in readiness, the command "Forward" was given by

Colonel Kinsman, and at once his noble regiment sprang forward to the works. The Twenty-first

Iowa, led by Colonel Merrill, moved at the same instant, the Eleventh Wisconsin, Colonel

Harris, closely following. Through a terrible fire of musketry from the enemy in front, and a

9

galling fire from his sharpshooters on the right, these brave men dashed bravely on. Kinsman

fell, dangerously wounded, before half the distance was accomplished. Struggling to his feet, he

staggered a few paces to the front, cheered forward his men, and fell again, this time to rise no

more, pierced through by a second ball. Colonel Merrill, the brave commander of the Twentyfirst

Iowa, fell, wounded early in the charge. . . . Immediately Lieutenant Colonel Glasgow

placed himself at the head of the Twenty-third Iowa, and Major Van Anda led on the Twentyfirst.

Undismayed by the loss of their Colonels, and by the perfect store of bullets poured into

them with destructive effect, the men of the Twenty-third and Twenty-first Iowa and Eleventh

Wisconsin pressed onward, nearer and nearer to the rebel works, over the open field and up to

the edge of the bayou. Halting here only long enough to pour into the enemy a deadly volley,

they dashed forward through the bayou, filled with water, fallen timber and brush, on to the rebel

works, with the shout of victors, driving the enemy from their breastworks and entering in

triumph the rebel stronghold.... Those of the rebels who were not captured hastened to make

good their retreat over the bridge. . . . It is, perhaps, worthy of remark that more men were

captured by my brigade than I had men in the charge.... Lieutenant Colonel S. L. Glasgow, of the

Twenty-third Iowa, and Major S. G. Van Anda, of the Twenty-first Iowa, who assumed

command of their respective regiments after the fall of their Colonels, deserve the highest

praise.... They had the honor of leading their regiments into the enemy's works.... Captain

Houston, Company A, Captain Brown, company I, and Lieutenant Rawlings, Company F, of the

Twenty-third Iowa, with their commands, broke the enemy's line in a swamp at the edge of the

timber, and poured an enfilading fire into the ditches that routed the rebels in confusion.

Lieutenant Rawlings captured the colors of the Sixty-first Tennessee, wresting them from the

rebel color bearer
. Captain Houston captured the colors of the Twenty-first Arkansas. Corporal

John W. Boone, color bearer of the Twenty-third Iowa, fell, severely wounded; Corporal J. T.

Shipman then grasped the colors and bore them gallantly to the front and through the whole

charge.... special and honorable mention should be made of A. M. Lyon, Esq., Sutler of the

Twenty-third Iowa, a brave old man, who took a gun at the commencement of the battle, went

into the ranks, fought nobly, and fell mortally wounded. The death of colonel Kinsman of the

Twenty-third Iowa, whose brave and gallant conduct is the theme of universal praise, fills the

hearts of all who knew him with poignant sorrow. A splendid soldier, a perfect gentleman, and a

finished scholar, endowed in the highest degree with the noblest qualities of true manhood, his

loss cannot prove less to his State and country than a public calamity. The officers and soldiers

of his command had learned to love and respect him with an earnestness and devotion rarely

equaled. His loss is irreparable, but he fell as the true soldier wishes to fall, in the moment of

victory, when his country's flag waved in triumph over the stronghold of treason and rebellion,

and died as the true soldier wishes to die, with Christian resignation and fortitude.... Finally, I

cannot close this report without expressing my admiration for the brave men in the ranks, to

whose steadiness and determined courage is in a great measure due the glory of the brilliant and

decisive victory of Big Black Bridge. To them I return my warmest thanks. A grateful country

will see that their services are appropriately rewarded. 8

8 War of the Rebellion Official Records, Series 1, Part 2, Vol. 24, pages 135 to 139

inclusive.

The total loss of the Thirteenth Army Corps at the battle of the Big Black River Bridge was

279, while the loss in General M. K. Lawler's brigade alone was 221, and of this number the

Twenty-third Iowa lost 2 officers and 11 enlisted men killed, and 3 officers and 85 enlisted men

wounded. Total loss of the regiment 101. 9 The two officers killed were Colonel Kinsman and

10

Captain R. L. McCray and the four wounded were: Captain John C. T. Hull, Lieutenant S. G.

Beckwith, J. D. Ewing and Washington Rawlings. Lieutenants Beckwith and Ewing

subsequently died from the effect of their wounds. The casualties of the Twenty-third in this

battle were exactly the same as those of the entire brigade at Port Gibson. Had the military career

of the Twenty-third Iowa ended with this battle, its record would have been established as one of

the best and bravest regiments in the army of the United States.

9 War of the Rebellion Official Records, Series 1, Part 2, Vol. 24, page 130. Returns o

Casualties in battle of Big Black River Bridge.

The remainder of the 17th and all the next day after the battle were spent in caring for the

wounded, burying the dead, and collecting the trophies of war,—the immense number of arms

and accouterments left on the battlefield and captured with the prisoners, 3,000 in number. To

the Twenty-third Iowa was assigned the duty of guarding the prisoners. General Lawler, at the

conclusion of his report, says: ``The Twenty-third Iowa Volunteers, which had borne so

distinguished a part and suffered so severely in the charge, was placed as a guard over the

captured prisoners, and, by order of Major General U. S. Grant, has since gone north with them,

thus losing to me for the time being the services of this command."

The regiment now marched to the Yazoo River, as guard to the rebel prisoners. As soon as

transportation could be procured, it proceeded with the prisoners to Memphis. Upon arriving at

that place, the prisoners were turned over to the Commandant of the Post and the regiment

returned to Young's Point, La., where it arrived a few days before the attack was made upon

Milliken's Bend, where the garrison, consisting of untrained Negro troops about 800 strong, was

threatened with attack by a full brigade of rebel troops under command of the rebel General

McCulloch. General Elias S. Dennis was in command of the Post, and from his official report of

the engagement the following extracts are made, to show the part taken by the Twenty-third

Iowa. 10 After describing the preliminary movements and skirmishes of the Negro troops with

the enemy, which occurred on June 6th, outside of his works, General Dennis proceeds to

describe the terrible contest which ensued in the morning and forenoon of June 7, 1863.

10 The compiler has made diligent search of the Official Records for the report of Colonel

Glasgow, but without success.
 
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#5
From Ancestry.com:

Name: Washington Rawlings
Residence:
Age at Enlistment: 27
Enlistment Date: 2 Aug 1862
Rank at enlistment: 1st Lieutenant
State Served: Iowa
Was Wounded?: Yes
Survived the War?: Yes
Service Record: Commissioned an officer in Company F, Iowa 23rd Infantry Regiment on 19 Sep 1862.Promoted to Full Captain on 16 Jun 1863.Mustered out on 12 Nov 1863.
Birth Date: abt 1835
Death Date: 19 Nov 1917
Death Place: Clackamas County, Oregon
Sources: Roster & Record of Iowa Soldiers in the War of RebellionResearch by Harold Slavik

When Capt.George Washington Rawlings was born on July 8, 1832, in Sangamon, Illinois, his father, Benjamin, was 32 and his mother, Christena, was 24. He married Nancy J Rawlings in 1853 in Iowa. They had 12 children in 19 years. He died on November 19, 1917, in Portland, Oregon, having lived a long life of 85 years, and was buried in Oregon City, Oregon.



Alan Polk, if you find his family tree, work forward from there and like ETR said, get in touch with living relatives if there are any.
 
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#10
One flag captured at Big Black, is reportedly still in Des Monies, in the possession of the Iowa Department of Archives and History. It's not clear who the flag belonged to, but it's believed to be either the 60th or 61st Tennessee. It's a large 1st National Flag, with 13 seven-pointed stars, arranged in a circle on the blue field. One white bar of these "Stars & Bars", has the words, "In God We Trust". Tennessee has repeatedly tried to no avail, to have the flag returned.

My guess is, Captain Rawlings' descendants still have the 61st's flag.
Looks like your guess is right.

I wonder why Tennessee or any other State would want a captured flag back? Men died defending it, and men died capturing it, so I think it really belongs to the family of Rawlings and the Sate that he fought for during the war, that's it's history. I do think that every effort should be made to preserve the flag, and if Iowa wants to assist in that matter I'm sure it would be welcome by the family.
 
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#12
Looks like your guess is right.

I wonder why Tennessee or any other State would want a captured flag back? Men died defending it, and men died capturing it, so I think it really belongs to the family of Rawlings and the Sate that he fought for during the war, that's it's history. I do think that every effort should be made to preserve the flag, and if Iowa wants to assist in that matter I'm sure it would be welcome by the family.
It was common years after the war to return captured flags, swords and other mementos identified, as a means to heal the rifts made by 4 years of war. Reading the OP article you see that the Captain said that he wouldn't sell it for any price, but would give it back to the man he took it from. There is also a fear that an individual family may not be able to care for a priceless relic, we have helped to preserve a half dozen flags over the years (3 from Tennessee) and it runs into the many thousands of dollars. Case in point, the flag of the 2nd MD CS Co A, shown in the Band of Brothers painting by Don Troiani, at Gettysburg, needed over $20,000 in restoration and stabilization and it was in fairly decent shape. The MD (Murray Flag) flag is now proudly displayed in Richmond, at the American Civil War Museum (Museum of the Confederacy); pictured below. We are now in the process of raising funds to restore the flag of the 63rd TN.
IMG_0590 (1).JPG
 
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#14
It was common years after the war to return captured flags, swords and other mementos identified, as a means to heal the rifts made by 4 years of war. Reading the OP article you see that the Captain said that he wouldn't sell it for any price, but would give it back to the man he took it from. There is also a fear that an individual family may not be able to care for a priceless relic, we have helped to preserve a half dozen flags over the years (3 from Tennessee) and it runs into the many thousands of dollars. Case in point, the flag of the 2nd MD CS Co A, shown in the Band of Brothers painting by Don Troiani, at Gettysburg, needed over $20,000 in restoration and stabilization and it was in fairly decent shape. The MD (Murray Flag) flag is now proudly displayed in Richmond, at the American Civil War Museum (Museum of the Confederacy); pictured below. We are now in the process of raising funds to restore the flag of the 63rd TN. View attachment 177399
Having had a 3 x 1st cousin in Company D of the 63rd, I appreciate your efforts !

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/re...s-in-the-civil-war.129343/page-4#post-1517964

Is the flag described in the link above, possibility the one being restored ?
 
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#15
Thanks for the info @Motor7

It is good to see that it’s whereabouts is known. I hope the family knows how valuable, both monetarily and historically, it is. Again, thanks!!
P355.gif


Michael Kelly Lawler (1814 - 1882)

Brigadier-General Michael Lawler : "and Lieutenant Rawlings, company F, of the Twenty-THIRD, with their commands, broke the enemy's line in a swamp at the edge of the timber, and poured an enfilading fire into the ditches that routed the rebels in confusion. Lieutenant Rawlings, company F, twenty-THIRD Iowa, captured the colors of the Sixty-first Tennessee, wresting them from the rebel color-bearer".

"The enemy, though superior in numbers, fell back during the night, an we advanced on the morning of the 17th at the best speed of which the men were capable, passing through Edwards Depot, and reaching Black River in season to charge the left of the enemy's entrenchments at the time they were being most heavily driven on the right, and participating in the capture of the 60th East Tennessee (rebel) Regiment and some 100 stragglers besides, who fell into the hands of the First Brigade. With renewed satisfaction I am able to say that this success was bloodless, not costing us a man".............Colonel F.W. Moore 83rd Ohio.


 
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#20
For those interested here's the four CS flags taken at Big Black River: 21st Arkansas (Van Dorn pattern, by the 23rd Iowa); 1st Missouri Cavalry (Bowen pattern, by the 11th Wisconsin); 60th Tennessee Infantry (First National, by the 23rd Wisconsin); 61st Tennessee Infantry (First National, by the 23rd Iowa). An officer of the 11th Wisconsin also claimed taking another flag but no details. Hope this helps.
 

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