Doc. 165. capture of a secession flag, at Manchester, Mo., Nov. 15, 1861.The following is an account of the capture, as given by the Missouri Republican:
camp Herron, Mo., Ninth regiment Iowa Vols., Nov. 18, 1861.The commander of this post, having learned that a certain very fine secession flag that had waved defiantly from a flagstaff in the village of Manchester, twenty miles distant from this place, until the successes of the Union forces caused its supporters to conclude that, for the present, “discretion would be the better part of valor,” was still being very carefully preserved, its possessors boasting that they would soon be enabled to rehoist it, determined upon its capture. On the 15th inst., he directed First Lieutenant H. C. Bull, of Company C, of this regiment, to take charge of the expedition, and to detail fifteen good men for the purpose, which detail the lieutenant made from Company C. They left camp by the cars at half-past 5 P. M., landing at Merrimac, three miles from Manchester, proceeding from thence to Manchester on foot, and surrounded the house of ‘Squire B., who had been foremost in the secession movement of that strong secession town, and was reported to be in possession of the flag. The Esquire protested against the imputation, declaring that the flag was not in his possession, and that he knew not of its whereabouts. His lady acknowledged that she had for a time kept it secreted in a box in the garden, but as it was likely to become injured, she took it out, dried it in the sun, when it was taken away by some ladies, who lived a long distance in the country, whose names she refused to give. Finally, after a thorough but fruitless search of the house after the lieutenant had placed her husband under arrest, and he was being started for Headquarters, the lady, probably hoping to save her husband, acknowledged that it was taken by a Mrs. S., who resided a mile and a half in the country, not such a terrible long distance, after all. Her husband was then sent to Merrimac, escorted by four soldiers, and the remainder, conducted by the gallant lieutenant, started to visit the residence of Mrs. S., in search of the flag. The distance to the lady's residence was soon travelled, the house surrounded, and the flag demanded of Mrs. S., who proved to be a very intelligent lady, and was surrounded by a very interesting family. The lady replied to the demand that she would like to see the person that stated that she took the flag from Esquire B----'s; that as to its whereabouts she had nothing to say; that the lieutenant could search her house, and if he could find any thing that looked like a flag, he was welcome to it. Accordingly, a thorough search was made, in which the lady and her daughter aided, but no flag was to be found. The lady then thanked the officer for the gentlemanly manner in which the search had been conducted, and added that she trusted he was satisfied. He replied he was quite certain that she had the flag, and that it would have been far better for her to have yielded it; but as she did not, as unpleasant as the task was, he should arrest her and take her to Headquarters at Pacific City. Two men were then despatched for a carriage with which to convey the lady to Merrimac, and from thence the lady was informed that she would be sent by railroad. She accordingly made preparations to go, but after about an hour had elapsed in waiting for the carriage, the lady again demanded the name of the informants, and when told that it was Mrs. B., and that Esquire B. was already under arrest, she then asked whether any indignity would have been offered to her had the flag been found in her possession, to which the courteous lieutenant replied, “Certainly not, madam; our object with Esquire B. was his arrest, and the capture of the flag; but with you, our object was the flag.” “Will you pledge your honor,” said she, “that if I surrender the flag I shall not be arrested, nor my family disturbed?” When replied to in the affirmative, she added, “I wish you to understand, sir, that no fear of arrest or trouble would ever have made me surrender that flag; but Esquire B.'s family induced me to take that flag to save their family from trouble, saying that it should be a sacred trust, known only to ourselves, and I, consequently, surrender it.” She then went to a bed that had been fruitlessly searched, took from it a quilt, and with the aid of her daughters proceeded to open the edges of the quilt, and cut the stitches through the body of it, and pulled off the top, when behold! there lay the mammoth flag next to the cotton, being carefully stretched twice and nearly a half across the quilt. When taken out and spread, it proved to be a magnificent flag, over twenty-one feet in length, and nearly nine feet in width, with fifteen stars to represent the prospective Southern Confederacy. “Recollect,” said the lady to Lieut. Bull, “that you did not find it yourself, and when you wish detectives you had better employ ladies.” She also added, that she gave up the flag unwillingly. The daughter remarked that she had slept under it, and that she loved it, and that fifteen stars were not so terribly disunion, in her estimation, after all. The flag is now in possession of Col. Vandever, who remarked that it excelled any of the rebel flags that he saw at the battle of Bull Run or Manassas. Esquire B. is in custody, awaiting his trial.R.