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[171] ignored, addressing General Beauregard as the commander of the district, though sending to him, directly, for execution, orders which evidently referred to the army. Delicate embarrassments in administration arose from this state of affairs, which virtually reduced the leading general of the Confederacy to the rank of a Major-General.

On the 7th of November a strong United States naval expedition, under Admiral Dupont, seized Forts Walker and Beauregard, two small field-works armed with thirty-five guns of inferior calibre and only two of them rifled, guarding the entrance to Port Royal harbor, South Carolina. The reader is already aware of what had been done, upon General Beauregard's advice, with regard to the protection of that harbor. He had never concealed the fact that, inadequately armed as it necessarily would be, its defense, against any regularly organized expedition, would be impossible.1 As it was, however, the works held out longer than had been expected, and were the objects of praise even in the reports of the Federal commanders.

On the 28th of November General Beauregard distributed to his troops (Van Dorn's and Longstreet's divisions) the new Confederate battle-flags which he had just received, and solemnized the act with imposing religious ceremonies.

During the battle of Manassas he had observed the difficulty of distinguishing our own from the enemy's colors, and, in order to prevent all error in the future, had determined to adopt in his army a battle-flag distinct in color and design. He, at first, sought to procure a change in the Confederate flag itself, and Colonel W. P. Miles, then chairman of the House Military Committee, had caused, at his request, a report to be presented to that effect, but with no result. General Johnston had then ordered the troops to carry their State flags, none of which, however, could be obtained except for the Virginia regiments, which received them from the hands of Governor Letcher, on the 30th of October. In a conference between the three senior officers, at Fairfax Court-House, in September, out of four designs for a battle-flag, one, presented by General Beauregard, was adopted. It was a red field with a diagonal blue cross, the latter edged with white, and bearing white stars.2 To render it more portable,

1 See Chapter V., p. 51.

2 This beautiful design, by a strange coincidence, had been previously devised by Colonel Miles, and recommended, for the Confederate flag, to the Congress then in session at Montgomery, in March, 1861. It had also been proposed by Mr. Edward C. Hancock, at the request of Colonel James B. Walton, at New Orleans, in the month of April. It had been offered by Colonel Miles to General Beauregard, in substitution for one nearly similar in emblem and pattern, but different in the distribution of colors, suggested to him by General Beauregard when the latter was seeking to procure a change in the Confederate flag. And it was now proposed anew to the General by Colonel Walton, who had Mr. Hancock's design.

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