My apologies if this has already been seen on this board:
There was received here on Monday last, by Mr. W. O. Young, the flag which proudly floated over the Tensas Rifles when they left here for Virginia in 1861.
The following correspondence shows how the flag was returned:
Rossville, N.Y. Dec 1, 1884
Your Excellency - I have in my possession a silk banner that bears on its side the motto of "Tensas Rifles." It was presented to my father (then the Governor of Idaho Territory) by some of the officials of the War Department. Since perfect peace has been restored and we are again a reunited and loving brotherhood I would like to have you inform me where I can return this emblem of your valor and bravery. Yours truly,
C. Lyon, M. D.
Rossville, Staten Island, N.Y.
Executive Dept., State of Louisiana,
Baton Rouge, La. Dec. 6, 1884
Col. W. C. Young, St. Joseph:
Dear Sir - The enclosed letter may be interesting to the survivors of the Tensas Rifles. Hope they will take action and make arrangements for the return of their flag.
Truly Yours, S.D. McEnery
Rossville, N.Y. Aug. 21, 1886
W. C. Young, Esq:
My Dear Sir - A protracted absence from home made me forget my promise to you about the flag. I forwarded it to you by express yesterday, and trust you will receive it in good order. Tell your Southern boys that if they as much of our Northern ones as we do of them that there will be no more battle flags to return.
Yours truly, C. Lyon
The noble and generous sentiments expressed in these letters by the gallant Northern gentleman who sent back the flag, will move the hearts of Southerners with similar emotions. An enemy, who , after the conflict, puts behind him the bitterness attendant upon a struggle like a civil war, and reaches out the hand of friendship and brotherhood, is among the noblest of God's creatures, and the hearts of brave men will at once echo the kindly sentiments of Dr. Lyon, and with tightly clasped hands pledge themselves to the good fellowship which should exist between sons of a common mother.
The Tensas Rifles, numbering 1010 men, was the first company to leave this parish in 1861, Charles Tenney was Captain and David Buckner First Lieutenant. Subsequently twenty-five more men were recruited from this parish who stood in the ranks of the Tensas Rifles. Among the first troops to reach the scene of war, this company became a part of Col. Seymour's regiment of the Sixth Louisiana Infantry. In nearly all of the great battles of the war "our boys" made for themselves an enviable record among the bravest of the brave, and but few of them returned to tell the tale of disaster, death and fame acquired midst scenes of carnage. The only survivors whose name we can now recall are Major H. B. Richardson, now Chief of the State Board of Engineers, who, when his company left here, was the bearer of the returned flag; Thomas J. Hays, Alex Reed, Drake Gates, Holland Chew, Theodore Woodard and Joseph Davis.
The flag is made of silk. Upon a field of blue are eight golden stars. In the centre of the blue field embroidered in gold, is a cotton bale on which is found the name of the "Tensas Rifles," then come the red, white and red bars.
If in accordance with the wishes of the survivors the flag will be sent for safe keeping to the Louisiana Division of the Association of the Army of Northern Virginia at New Orleans.
This old flag, worn and tattered, as is, was carried bravely; no suspicion or shadow of dishonor attaches itself to its silken folds. It is sacred to the memory of those who died under it, and to those we owe it that it should be tenderly cared for.
In behalf of the survivors of the Tensas Rifles, as well as the entire people of this parish, we assure Dr. Lyon that this thoughtful action in the return of the flag has endeared him in the hearts of our people, and we extend to him our most sincere and earnest thanks.
- Tensas Gazette, Sept. 23, 1886
- Times Picayune, Sept. 27,1886
This flag resides in Memorial Hall. The quarter is about all that is left with the cotton bale and words Tensas Rifles. It would appear that perhaps one or more persons in the War Dept. at that time was handing out our flags as gifts to special persons or friends. I guess not much has changed...…..