previous next

[486] was red, with its sides equal to the width of seven stripes; in its centre was a single pale-yellow star with five points.

I remain, yours very truly,

Naval Rendezvous, Boston Navy Yard, Mass.


Frankfort, Ky., Jan. 15th, 1872.
I was serving with the Confederate army, in front of Manassas Junction, when the Confederate ‘battle-flag’ was adopted, and took part in the discussions in regard to it.

My recollections on the subject fully coincide with those expressed within by General Beauregard.


New York, Jan. 28th, 1872.
My dear General,—Your missing note of the 11th instant has come to hand at last, with the copy of your note to Captain Preble, and, although I have already substantially answered it in my own note of the other day, I will state now that I distinctly recollect that the origin of our battle-flag was due to the trouble which arose, as you say, at the battle of Manassas, in consequence of the similarity between the Confederate and Federal flags, on that occasion.

I remember that you at once set to work to find a guard against a similar accident, and made the first suggestion which I heard upon the subject.

I recollect also that there was a good deal of discussion touching the form and precise style of the flag, and that it was finally settled to adopt the small square flag with the Greek cross.

You will doubtless recollect the ceremony of presentation of these flags, first to Longstreet's division, and afterwards to Van Dorn's division, at Fairfax Court-House, and the General Order that I read to the troops on both occasions.

It is strange how soon the details of such affairs become vague and unsettled in the memory of men. This should serve to show how uncertain the details of history must be.

You may recollect that at Shiloh we had three battle-flags. That of Bragg's corps was like the Virginia one—the model of which you furnished. Polk's corps differed in some way, although suggested by it; or designed to be, perhaps, precisely alike, but differing by accident; and the one of Hardee's corps, which was of a blue ground with a central white medallion—one that the corps had brought from Kentucky.

The whole idea of these battle-flags, however, came from the battle of Manassas, and was raised by you to obviate a repetition of the difficulty experienced then. I recollect myself that, after the battle was over, and I had ridden in advance, I saw a flag with a regiment well in advance of me, that I was for the time confident must be the Federal flag, and which I could not believe could be ours from its appearance, even when very close to it. It was only the appearance of the men that gave me confidence to approach.

How much of the history of the most curious details of that war will go unwritten!


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
George Henry Preble (2)
G. T. Beauregard (2)
Gustavus W. Smith (1)
L. Polk (1)
James Longstreet (1)
W. J. Hardee (1)
E. Dorn (1)
Braxton Bragg (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
January 28th, 1872 AD (1)
January 15th, 1872 AD (1)
11th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: