Lost Flag of Port Gibson

devansjames

Cadet
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
During the Battle of Port Gibson, my Great x3 Granduncle Cpl. David Evans of the 56th O.V.I. captured a Confederate flag and this is documented. The men of the 56th were confused at the time as to who it belonged to, but it either belonged to the Botetourt Artillery or the 23rd Alabama. The flag was shipped backed to Portsmouth, Ohio where it was displayed at City Hall until 1921. This is its last known location. Since the flag was never turned over to the War Department, Cpl. David Evans never received his Medal of Honor and has since been forgotten in the strands of time. Cpl. Evans would perish from a mortal wound sustained at Champion Hill about 2-and-a-half months later after capturing said flag.

I was wondering if anyone had information on these flags, as I'm looking to find it and if displayed publicly, visit. Thank you!
 

alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
I don’t know that level of detail about Port Gibson, but I don’t recall any of Tracey’s infantry (which 23rd Alabama was a part) ever being completely overrun (but I could be wrong). But I do know that Botetourt Artillery suffered mightily there, losing most of its guns (4 out of 6, I believe), some 40 men (I think) and most of its battery horses. So, considering that level of devastation, I would think it a pretty good bet the flag came from that unit, if we are choosing between the two. But that’s just a guess on my part
 

devansjames

Cadet
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
I don’t know that level of detail about Port Gibson, but I don’t recall any of Tracey’s infantry (which 23rd Alabama was a part) ever being completely overrun (but I could be wrong). But I do know that Botetourt Artillery suffered mightily there, losing most of its guns (4 out of 6, I believe), some 40 men (I think) and most of its battery horses. So, considering that level of devastation, I would think it a pretty good bet the flag came from that unit, if we are choosing between the two. But that’s just a guess on my part
If the whole Botetourt Artillery Regiment was there, how many flags would there have been?

It’s stated in Historical Sketch of the 56th Ohio by 1st Lt. T.J. Williams that “In a short time we captured 222 men of the 23rd Alabama Infantry and the Virginia Artillery Company, also the flag of one or the other of these organizations. The flag was captured by Corporal David Evans of Company C.”

And documents from Portsmouth refer to the flag as belonging to Johnston's-Virginia Battery. 🤔
 

alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
If the whole Botetourt Artillery Regiment was there, how many flags would there have been?

It’s stated in Historical Sketch of the 56th Ohio by 1st Lt. T.J. Williams that “In a short time we captured 222 men of the 23rd Alabama Infantry and the Virginia Artillery Company, also the flag of one or the other of these organizations. The flag was captured by Corporal David Evans of Company C.”

And documents from Portsmouth refer to the flag as belonging to Johnston's-Virginia Battery. 🤔
Not sure how many flags an artillery unit had, but “Johnston's Virginia battery,” as referenced in your post above, is, in fact, Botetourt Artillery. Johnston was its commander.
 

devansjames

Cadet
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
Not sure how many flags an artillery unit had, but “Johnston's Virginia battery,” as referenced in your post above, is, in fact, Botetourt Artillery. Johnston was its commander.
That seems to be what was captured I'd say. Newspaper clippings from the time refer to a "stand of colors" being captured by the 56th too. So the flag in question it seems was most likely its regimental color flag. Where it is now though, hahaha. I can only hope to see it one day.
 

alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
That seems to be what was captured I'd say. Newspaper clippings from the time refer to a "stand of colors" being captured by the 56th too. So the flag in question it seems was most likely its regimental color flag. Where it is now though, hahaha. I can only hope to see it one day.
Hopefully it will turn up! Not sure if that city hall building you mentioned is still around, but someone ought to go sniffing around it’s attic if it is!!!
 

Crossroads

Cadet
Joined
Jan 2, 2021
During the Battle of Port Gibson, my Great x3 Granduncle Cpl. David Evans of the 56th O.V.I. captured a Confederate flag and this is documented. The men of the 56th were confused at the time as to who it belonged to, but it either belonged to the Botetourt Artillery or the 23rd Alabama. The flag was shipped backed to Portsmouth, Ohio where it was displayed at City Hall until 1921. This is its last known location. Since the flag was never turned over to the War Department, Cpl. David Evans never received his Medal of Honor and has since been forgotten in the strands of time. Cpl. Evans would perish from a mortal wound sustained at Champion Hill about 2-and-a-half months later after capturing said flag.

I was wondering if anyone had information on these flags, as I'm looking to find it and if displayed publicly, visit. Thank you!
Great story, thanks for sharing.
Not to criticize, but Champion Hill was two and a half weeks, not months, later.
 

ucvrelics

Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Regtl. Quartermaster Shiloh 2020
Joined
May 7, 2016
Location
Alabama
Welcome From THE Heart Of Dixie. It could not have been the 23rd Ala as their flag is in the archives in Montgomery and is the same one used by that unit at Port Gibson and Vicksburg where it was surrendered. The 56th Ohio always claimed to have captured the flag of the Botetourt Artillery but that has always been disputed by the serving members of that unit. In Jerald Markham's book on the unit he covers this and it is documented that the flag of Botetourt Artillery was surrendered when Vicksburg fell.
 

devansjames

Cadet
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
Welcome From THE Heart Of Dixie. It could not have been the 23rd Ala as their flag is in the archives in Montgomery and is the same one used by that unit at Port Gibson and Vicksburg where it was surrendered. The 56th Ohio always claimed to have captured the flag of the Botetourt Artillery but that has always been disputed by the serving members of that unit. In Jerald Markham's book on the unit he covers this and it is documented that the flag of Botetourt Artillery was surrendered when Vicksburg fell.
Hey ucvrelivs! I've read that as well. What we know with fact: a Flag was captured by the 56th at Port Gibson by Cpl. David Evans - it was sent back to Portsmouth, Ohio - it's documented in Portsmouth archives as belonging to "Johnston's Battery" - I ascertain with this evidence that the regiment carried two flags as many did. What would your theory on this flag in question be?
 

ucvrelics

Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Regtl. Quartermaster Shiloh 2020
Joined
May 7, 2016
Location
Alabama
Hey ucvrelivs! I've read that as well. What we know with fact: a Flag was captured by the 56th at Port Gibson by Cpl. David Evans - it was sent back to Portsmouth, Ohio - it's documented in Portsmouth archives as belonging to "Johnston's Battery" - I ascertain with this evidence that the regiment carried two flags as many did. What would your theory on this flag in question be?
Most CS regiments may have had 2 but only one was used at a time. Botetourt Artillery was not a regiment but an artillery battery which is much smaller and would have only had the one flag.
 

devansjames

Cadet
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
Most CS regiments may have had 2 but only one was used at a time. Botetourt Artillery was not a regiment but an artillery battery which is much smaller and would have only had the one flag.
This is great info. Given the contradicting nature of facts, would you theorize that the captured flag could of perhaps belonged to another regiment that it has never been thought to belong to?

And another interesting fact: The Botetourt Flag has never been documented anywhere. And this aligns with the documented notion of it once being in Portsmouth. If it was surrendered, it doesn't seem likely that it would've completely fallen off of the face of the earth.
 

devansjames

Cadet
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
There are many flags that were surrendered that have never turned up. I don't know what to tell you except the Botetourt Flag was documented as being surrendered at Vicksburg.
Yet we have a documented flag capture at Port Gibson that was sent back to Portsmouth, newspapers and Scioto County archives stating that the flag belonged to Johnston’s Battery, a Council Hall presentation of it, and confirmation of said flag’s last known existence.

It’s interesting because this correlates with the captured narrative since the Johnston’s Battery flag has never been documented as existing after Vicksburg, and this documentation from my understanding is personal testimony. The flag captured by the 56th’s last known location is 1921.

Something is off here. I’ve read too that the Botetourt Artillery flag was cut up into small pieces so it would not fall into enemy hands. Interesting all around. There seems to be a missing link.
 

devansjames

Cadet
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
There are many flags that were surrendered that have never turned up. I don't know what to tell you except the Botetourt Flag was documented as being surrendered at Vicksburg.
Hey ucvrelics, could this perhaps be the Botetourt Artillery flag surrendered at Vicksburg?

https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/media_player?mets_filename=evr3864mets.xml

It was issued 1 month before the infantry became the Artillery, and perhaps this was the flag that was surrendered at Vicksburg as it looks to have been cut up as stated. The Botetourt Artillery flag could've been remade and captured by the 56th O.V.I. as documented.
 

ucvrelics

Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Regtl. Quartermaster Shiloh 2020
Joined
May 7, 2016
Location
Alabama
Hey ucvrelics, could this perhaps be the Botetourt Artillery flag surrendered at Vicksburg?

https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/media_player?mets_filename=evr3864mets.xml

It was issued 1 month before the infantry became the Artillery, and perhaps this was the flag that was surrendered at Vicksburg as it looks to have been cut up as stated. The Botetourt Artillery flag could've been remade and captured by the 56th O.V.I. as documented.
No, as a flag was a VERY special thing and it would have been a flag for the Botetourt Artillery unit and not the 20th Virginia.
 
Top