Lost Flag of Port Gibson

James N.

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I hate to muddy the waters - BUT...

When units were first organized they often (probably usually) received a flag or banner of some sort, often sewn by ladies of the nearest community. This was often done on a company or battery level. Upon arriving at their camp of instruction where the infantry companies were formed into regiments, naturally all these company level banners were now superfluous and many were sent home to be discovered much later as "the flag of the ___ Regiment!", which in a sense it had been. Things became even more confusing when still NEWER flags were adopted when the regiments or batteries were assigned to new Confederate corps which in the Western Theater at least each had their own unique design. That meant yet another flag was retired and sent home to ad to future confusion. Many flags wore out or as in this case were captured and therefore were replaced by yet another replacement banner. All this meant that there *might* be several or many different flags, colors, or banners associated with any particular unit!

The case in point I know best is that of a Texas battery known variously as Good's Battery, Douglas's Battery, the Dallas Light Artillery, the 1st Texas Battery, or the 1st Texas Light Artillery. First raised in early 1861 and consisting of 50 men from each Dallas and Tyler, it was presented with a banner of some design by Miss Mollie Moore on behalf of the ladies of Tyler; according to a letter written later it received one from the ladies of Dallas as well. In early 1862 forming a part of the command of Gen. Ben McCullough in Indian Territory it probably received a NEW banner based on the Confederate First National Flag to indicate its membership as a part of his command. After the battle of Pea Ridge in March, 1862 Captain Good wrote home to his wife describing how one of their flags was "accidently" left lying on the ground when they retreated, where it was picked up by a unit of Missouri German Federals who promptly sent it to their governor! Naturally enough, Captain Good did NOT report the loss of this flag in his official report of the battle.

In late April of 1862 along with the rest of the army it crossed the Mississippi as a part of the command of Earl Van Dorn, who adopted a unique and strange looking new banner for all the units of his corps. Soon the battery was attached to the division of Pat Cleburne which was well-known for having its own distinctive blue banner with a white disc or "moon" in the center. In early 1864, no longer with Cleburne, the battery *may* have been involved in the general issue of new flags for the entire Army of Tennessee, except for Cleburne's Division which retained their blue flags. Therefore, it's easily possible this single battery may have had a half-dozen different flags, all of them "official" at one point or another!

Welcome to the forums!
 

devansjames

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I hate to muddy the waters - BUT...

When units were first organized they often (probably usually) received a flag or banner of some sort, often sewn by ladies of the nearest community. This was often done on a company or battery level. Upon arriving at their camp of instruction where the infantry companies were formed into regiments, naturally all these company level banners were now superfluous and many were sent home to be discovered much later as "the flag of the ___ Regiment!", which in a sense it had been. Things became even more confusing when still NEWER flags were adopted when the regiments or batteries were assigned to new Confederate corps which in the Western Theater at least each had their own unique design. That meant yet another flag was retired and sent home to ad to future confusion. Many flags wore out or as in this case were captured and therefore were replaced by yet another replacement banner. All this meant that there *might* be several or many different flags, colors, or banners associated with any particular unit!

The case in point I know best is that of a Texas battery known variously as Good's Battery, Douglas's Battery, the Dallas Light Artillery, the 1st Texas Battery, or the 1st Texas Light Artillery. First raised in early 1861 and consisting of 50 men from each Dallas and Tyler, it was presented with a banner of some design by Miss Mollie Moore on behalf of the ladies of Tyler; according to a letter written later it received one from the ladies of Dallas as well. In early 1862 forming a part of the command of Gen. Ben McCullough in Indian Territory it probably received a NEW banner based on the Confederate First National Flag to indicate its membership as a part of his command. After the battle of Pea Ridge in March, 1862 Captain Good wrote home to his wife describing how one of their flags was "accidently" left lying on the ground when they retreated, where it was picked up by a unit of Missouri German Federals who promptly sent it to their governor! Naturally enough, Captain Good did NOT report the loss of this flag in his official report of the battle.

In late April of 1862 along with the rest of the army it crossed the Mississippi as a part of the command of Earl Van Dorn, who adopted a unique and strange looking new banner for all the units of his corps. Soon the battery was attached to the division of Pat Cleburne which was well-known for having its own distinctive blue banner with a white disc or "moon" in the center. In early 1864, no longer with Cleburne, the battery *may* have been involved in the general issue of new flags for the entire Army of Tennessee, except for Cleburne's Division which retained their blue flags. Therefore, it's easily possible this single battery may have had a half-dozen different flags, all of them "official" at one point or another!

Welcome to the forums!
When units were first organized they often (probably usually) received a flag or banner of some sort, often sewn by ladies of the nearest community. This was often done on a company or battery level. Upon arriving at their camp of instruction where the infantry companies were formed into regiments, naturally all these company level banners were now superfluous and many were sent home to be discovered much later as "the flag of the ___ Regiment!", which in a sense it had been. Things became even more confusing when still NEWER flags were adopted when the regiments or batteries were assigned to new Confederate corps which in the Western Theater at least each had their own unique design. That meant yet another flag was retired and sent home to ad to future confusion. Many flags wore out or as in this case were captured and therefore were replaced by yet another replacement banner. All this meant that there *might* be several or many different flags, colors, or banners associated with any particular unit!

The case in point I know best is that of a Texas battery known variously as Good's Battery, Douglas's Battery, the Dallas Light Artillery, the 1st Texas Battery, or the 1st Texas Light Artillery. First raised in early 1861 and consisting of 50 men from each Dallas and Tyler, it was presented with a banner of some design by Miss Mollie Moore on behalf of the ladies of Tyler; according to a letter written later it received one from the ladies of Dallas as well. In early 1862 forming a part of the command of Gen. Ben McCullough in Indian Territory it probably received a NEW banner based on the Confederate First National Flag to indicate its membership as a part of his command. After the battle of Pea Ridge in March, 1862 Captain Good wrote home to his wife describing how one of their flags was "accidently" left lying on the ground when they retreated, where it was picked up by a unit of Missouri German Federals who promptly sent it to their governor! Naturally enough, Captain Good did NOT report the loss of this flag in his official report of the battle.

In late April of 1862 along with the rest of the army it crossed the Mississippi as a part of the command of Earl Van Dorn, who adopted a unique and strange looking new banner for all the units of his corps. Soon the battery was attached to the division of Pat Cleburne which was well-known for having its own distinctive blue banner with a white disc or "moon" in the center. In early 1864, no longer with Cleburne, the battery *may* have been involved in the general issue of new flags for the entire Army of Tennessee, except for Cleburne's Division which retained their blue flags. Therefore, it's easily possible this single battery may have had a half-dozen different flags, all of them "official" at one point or another!

Welcome to the forums!
Hey James, happy to be here!

This is super compelling information, thank you so much for sharing. From all of the evidence, I would strongly suggest that the case of the Texas Battery is also the case of the Botetourt Artillery, especially given the fact that the flag that the Botetourt Artillery surrendered to the Union was made out of a wedding dress, and the flag captured at Port Gibson was never described as being that. Super compelling info. Thank you again!
 

steamboater

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Oct 1, 2018
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!
"Cpl. David James never received his medal of honor". Do you have knowledge of a Federal or Ohio document stating he was to receive such? I know many yanks did get recognition in this way for capturing a stand of colors, but is a notification known for this specific event?
 

devansjames

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"Cpl. David James never received his medal of honor". Do you have knowledge of a Federal or Ohio document stating he was to receive such? I know many yanks did get recognition in this way for capturing a stand of colors, but is a notification known for this specific event?
After researching and talking to the Curator at the American Civil War Museum, flags turned over to the War Department that we’re captured by a Union soldier then found the capturer given the Medal of Honor if his heroics were documented.
 

ucvrelics

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It’s odd because this is the 28th Virginia Infantry, and on this website it’s listed as belonging to the Botetourt Artillery. https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Botetourt_Artillery
If you read it is say that the Botetourt Artillery was formed from a company of the 28th early in the war. Once they were formed they were no longer part of that regiment. It was common to take a company (100 plus men) and form an artillery battery. Do you have copies of all the Portsmouth newspaper and local info. I would like to the see the source of where the paper got the info.

The Botetourt Artillery was one of only a handful of Virginia units to serve in the Western Theater during the American Civil War (1861–1865). Organized in December 1861 from a company in the 28th Virginia Infantry Regiment, the unit experienced heavy combat and losses during the Vicksburg Campaign in the spring and summer of 1863. Following Vicksburg, the Botetourt Artillery returned to western Virginia, where it saw little action.
 

devansjames

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If you read it is say that the Botetourt Artillery was formed from a company of the 28th early in the war. Once they were formed they were no longer part of that regiment. It was common to take a company (100 plus men) and form an artillery battery. Do you have copies of all the Portsmouth newspaper and local info. I would like to the see the source of where the paper got the info.

The Botetourt Artillery was one of only a handful of Virginia units to serve in the Western Theater during the American Civil War (1861–1865). Organized in December 1861 from a company in the 28th Virginia Infantry Regiment, the unit experienced heavy combat and losses during the Vicksburg Campaign in the spring and summer of 1863. Following Vicksburg, the Botetourt Artillery returned to western Virginia, where it saw little action.
I’m exploring all options. Read James N.’s post!
 

ucvrelics

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I’m exploring all options. Read James N.’s post!
Ive read James post, and it doesn't have anything to do with this captured flag just how flags were done during the war. The info below is the reference from Col Raynor's book and according this they don't know which unit it was.

In a short time we captured 222 men of the Twenty-third Alabama Infantry and the Virginia Artillery Company, also the flag of one or the other of these organizations. The flag was captured by Cor- poral David Evans of Company C.
 

devansjames

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Ive read James post, and it doesn't have anything to do with this captured flag just how flags were done during the war. The info below is the reference from Col Raynor's book and according this they don't know which unit it was.

In a short time we captured 222 men of the Twenty-third Alabama Infantry and the Virginia Artillery Company, also the flag of one or the other of these organizations. The flag was captured by Cor- poral David Evans of Company C.
Ive read James post, and it doesn't have anything to do with this captured flag just how flags were done during the war. The info below is the reference from Col Raynor's book and according this they don't know which unit it was.

In a short time we captured 222 men of the Twenty-third Alabama Infantry and the Virginia Artillery Company, also the flag of one or the other of these organizations. The flag was captured by Cor- poral David Evans of Company C.
Yeah, that’s the second thing I posted. With given evidence I’m fairly certain that the flag was one of few from the Botetourt yet still could be the 23rd Alabama’s. The 23rd Alabama flag that’s archived was presented to the regiment in 1864 - muddy waters indeed!
 

James N.

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Yeah, that’s the second thing I posted. With given evidence I’m fairly certain that the flag was one of few from the Botetourt yet still could be the 23rd Alabama’s. The 23rd Alabama flag that’s archived was presented to the regiment in 1864 - muddy waters indeed!
I should probably have also mentioned that full-size flags were rarely if ever carried by artillery units in the field, at least individual batteries. There was usually a small pennant or guidon to indicate their presence on the field and location of the commanding captain. That's likely why Captain Good failed to notice that his flag, banner, or whatever it was had been left lying on the ground. According to his letter to his wife, the battery had come under heavy Union counter-battery fire and suffered several losses, whereupon he ordered the battery wagon to be unloaded and used to transport his wounded to the rear. Soon afterwards and supposedly due to his ammunition running low, his battery was removed and replaced by another one from Arkansas. In all the hurry and no doubt confusion in this, their very first battle, nobody noticed the cased flag lying where it had been unloaded from the wagon. (Obviously it was NOT being used on the field.) Captain Hart's Battery was soon overrun and the Missourians thought it was the Arkansans' flag that they had captured.
 

James N.

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The Botetourt Artillery was one of only a handful of Virginia units to serve in the Western Theater during the American Civil War (1861–1865). Organized in December 1861 from a company in the 28th Virginia Infantry Regiment, the unit experienced heavy combat and losses during the Vicksburg Campaign in the spring and summer of 1863. Following Vicksburg, the Botetourt Artillery returned to western Virginia, where it saw little action.
If I remember right, it is the presence of the Botetourt Artillery that allowed the placement on the Vicksburg battlefield in the NMP of a Virginia State Monument, as it was the only unit from the state involved in the siege.
 

Rhea Cole

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Just a thought. As has been stated above, artillery units used guidons & marker flags rather than what would be called a battle flag. The flags were used to mark the line where the caissons lined up after unlimbering the guns, for example. These flags were often informal rather than issue items. That being said, if the flag in question was made of silk from a wedding dress or whatever, due to the way silk was treated & dyed at that time, the flag may well have disintegrated. Silk from that period can literally crumble to dust.
 

devansjames

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Just a thought. As has been stated above, artillery units used guidons & marker flags rather than what would be called a battle flag. The flags were used to mark the line where the caissons lined up after unlimbering the guns, for example. These flags were often informal rather than issue items. That being said, if the flag in question was made of silk from a wedding dress or whatever, due to the way silk was treated & dyed at that time, the flag may well have disintegrated. Silk from that period can literally crumble to dust.
If I remember right, it is the presence of the Botetourt Artillery that allowed the placement on the Vicksburg battlefield in the NMP of a Virginia State Monument, as it was the only unit from the state involved in the siege.
Attained documents today from 1940 stating that the flag in question belonged to the 23rd Alabama. This is eyeopening, as all documents at the time stated Johnston's battery. Once the dust settled it seems, the townspeople of Portsmouth were told that the flag was in fact the 23rd Alabama's. This evidence is super compelling.

Thank you everybody for your input, contributions here and time! We finally have our answer!

Now, all of these years later, I must "capture" the flag wherever it is!
 

ucvrelics

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Attained documents today from 1940 stating that the flag in question belonged to the 23rd Alabama. This is eyeopening, as all documents at the time stated Johnston's battery. Once the dust settled it seems, the townspeople of Portsmouth were told that the flag was in fact the 23rd Alabama's. This evidence is super compelling.

Thank you everybody for your input, contributions here and time! We finally have our answer!

Now, all of these years later, I must "capture" the flag wherever it is!
Would love to see them. Could you post a photo?
 

Sharon C.

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Mar 23, 2015
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!
 

Sharon C.

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Joined
Mar 23, 2015
devansjames, what happened to the flag, either in or after 1921?? If someone still has it, could we see a photo
of it? Thanks.
 
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