Confederate States' flags.List of 544 of those of Virginia troops, and when captured.
[It was announced in head lines in the issue of the Times-Dispatch of Feb. 28, 1904, that a bill would be introduced in Congress for the return of the captured Confederate flags to the Governors of the States to which they belonged respectively. The editor is informed by Honorable John Lamb that no bill, as yet, has been presented, but that he will confer with his colleagues, and offer one for their due restoration. There should now be no cavil at its passage as there is no question as to the proper custody of these precious memorials, about which cluster so much that is alike tender and inspiring. It would seem that a common patriotism should constrain immediate and unanimous action by Congress in a matter so palpably appealing.—Ed.]
(from our regular Correspondent.)
Washington, D. C., Feb. 27, 1904.There are 544 Confederate flags in the War Department. The flags were sent to the department as they were captured by the generals commanding the armies in the field. The Secretary of War  thinks some of the flags may have reached the department through some other channel. Of the whole number of flags thus sent to the department, 236 were United States flags, captured by the Confederates and recaptured by the Federal troops, and 544 were Confederate flags taken by the United States troops, making a total of 780, in the custody of the department. When received, they were deposited in a vacant attic in a building on Seventeenth street, used by clerks of the adjutant-general's office, and remained there until 1867. In that year the Secretary of War had them taken to the War Department, where a few were placed on the walls, and the remainder laid on shelves or stuffed in pigeon-holes. A portion of the flags were removed to the Winter building and placed on exhibition in the Ordnance Museum in 1784, and others were sent to the same place in 1875. The larger part of the flags still remained in the War Department. In 1882 all the flags, by direction of the Secretary of War, were boxed up and stored in the sub-basement of the department, where they were kept until 1889, when it was found that they were decaying, and the adjutant-general of the army had them removed from the boxes and placed in an upper story, where they could be more readily reached. It has been the practice of the department to return recaptured Union flags to the organizations which lost them, but it has not been the practice to return any Confederate flags to their original owners. During the first administration of Mr. Cleveland the Adjutant-General of the army, R. C. Drum, recommended to the President that the captured flags be returned to the Governors of the States to which the organizations which had lost them belonged. Mr. Cleveland approved this suggestion, and then revoked the order which had been issued on the subject, for the reason that he found he did not have the power to give back the flags without being authorized to do so by act of Congress.