The Civil War Flags Message Board

Re: WD Capture No. 224 - Hugh's response

Hi Bob,

More below for you:

>>>>Great stuff on the flags. I do not pretend to be an expert on flags and leave that to you guys. I'm not sure I know the difference between a St. Andrews and a saltire, and thank you for educating me on it. Is one more of a rectangle, while the other a square? >>>>

A saltire and the St. Andrews Cross are one and the same. Saltire is the historically proper name for this device however. The designer of the flag, William Porcher Miles, called it a saltire.

>>>>1. They came on in masses, not lines, with battle flags, many of them new and beautiful... (These men had just crossed the Tanyard Branch and the surrounding tangled undergrowth near the creek by "the right of oompanies" before reforming on the north side of the branch under fire, hence the "masses" comment).
2. Ward's Division captured seven stands of colors.
3. Ward's, Geary's, Williams' and Newton's four Divisions all repeatedly commented on how large was the Confederate force attacking them, giving estimates from 2 to 10 times the actual number that faced them, with most accounts agreeing on about 4 times the number.>>>>

Counting flags was a good way to gauge how many regiments faced you and then you had to guess at how big the regiments were.

What flags do you have being taken at Peachtree Creek?

>>>I just surmize that more than one flag per regiment could have made the charge at Peach Tree to: 1. show off each regiment's pluck as this was the first attack since New Hope and the first charge that Loring's men had made during the Georgia Campaign; 2. help to increase morale as the removal of Joe Johnston had a huge impact on these men from Miss., as most of Loring's men had been with Johnston since May-June of 1863 at Canton, Miss., 3. with the change over to Hood, and the outright talk of resigning by officers in many units, it would not be a stretch to see these units demand to carry every flag that they had in their camp on the field, and thus there was not strict enforcement of the one flag rule in this battle>>>>>

There may have been some brigade and division level colors in the attack for the reason of making it seem bigger. Gen Cleburne put his battle flags in his skirmish line at Perryville for deceptive purposes in fact. But I would like to see some hard evidence from one of these commanders that stated this.

I very much doubt that there were many of the company level flags still with the regiments by this time in the war. After 1863, their use falls of the radar completely.

The Army of Tennessee created a system of HQ flags for its two organic corps before the Atlanta Campaign began. These wer enot battle or national flags but rather flags created just for this purpose and they were color coded for units.

>>>> 4. it is possible that the Brigade and Division Commanders, Featherston, Scott, Loring, Walthall, etc. cosidered the shock value of more flags, giving the impression that there were more men attacking them than just five regiments and one battalion from Featherston, (or, 1230 men, when every Yankee that saw them and fought them swore that they were facing 5,000 to 10,000, etc.>>>>

That's posible but I again would like to see details from these officers that stated it was aprt of their plans.

>>>>5. There is also commentary about the Featherston attack coming on in three lines: one apparently was the skirmish line for a part of the charge, the second was the main line, and the third is anybody's guess, although mine is that the brigade officers and their staffs and some non-combatants like the physicians and stretcher bearers, Featherston to the right-center his brigade, Loring to his left, and Scott sliding further to the right of his brigade to maintain bettwe visual contact with his line, and Featherston's than the dense woods to his left. Should Ward and Geary's men be looking at all of this and say 12-15 flags, they could have made a different conclusion about the numbers attacking them rather than if it werew just 5 or 6 flags opposing.>>>>

This sounds more like a skirmish line and then two lines of regiments to me based on the drill book of the time. The third line scenario above would simply not put that many men into the line - CW staffs were not that large compared to Napoleonic staffs which were very large! Putting your surgeons into line was never done that I am aware of - what would happen to the men if he got killed?

>>>1. Ward's line about capturing seven stands of colors (Query-what is a "stand of colors"? one flag, a group of flags?), particularly when there were only 6 units from Featherston that opposed him and there is no knowledge of a lost flag in the 22nd Miss or the 1st Battl SS, (note-I have ruled out the loss of any of Maney's (Cheatham's Division) flags at PC to Ward for a number of reasons which I'll not cover here), and>>>>

A stand of colors is one flag. Military unit flags are officially called "colors" and it is why the flag bearer is officially called the "color bearer."

>>>>2. Why are the 33rd Miss. and the WD Capture No. 224 flags Second Nationals with gold fringe that match both captured at PC, apparently both being from Feathston's Mississippians, while the 31st Miss. flag is a battle or regimental flag? Also, I am certain that at the Battle of Franklin the 31st carried only 1 flag as there is much commentary about its handling and preservation from capture during the charge.>>>>

That's just the way the flags went for these units. By this time of the war, the AOT had fought under 9 different battle flag patterns and Johnston tried, but did not succeed in standardizing his flags into the rectangular 13 star saltire flags made at the Augusta Depot. Cleburne's Division told him they would not give up their blue and white flags, and Polk's Corps came with its two types of flags - with the Second National being very much accepted as colors along with the rectangular 12 star saltire flags made in Mobile. One or two of RE Lee's brigades in the ANV used Second National battle flags. Polk did not seem to care about one type of flag or another for his command whereas Hood and Hardee did (save Cleburne's troops).

>>>>Also, note that the "Featherston Division" (or Brigade) flag captured at Franklin looks like a cavalry split tail flag (I don't know the technical name), but it is blue and white, has a german-looking cross on it, and does not look anything like a battle or national flag. >>>>>

SD Lee's Corps, the old Polk's Corps, adopted their own official HQ flags in the Fall of 1864 before the Tennessee Campaign began. This flag is an example of that. They did not exist in the Atlanta Campaign. The cross is called a Maltese cross by the way.

>>>I have no idea what Scott's Flag looked like, but I agree that he was positioned with the right half of the brigade in the attack and likely around the edge of the woods just south of the Tanyard Branch Park and parking lot. So, it is possible that he had a flag in the ball park, but it seems unlikely that he trailed the left or left-center of Featherston's attack, if that is indeed where the flag (WD No. 224) was captured. After Polk was killed on June 14 at Pine Mtn., Feathston temporarily commanded the division while Loring commanded the Corps (or "Army of Miss.") until Stewart was promoted.>>>>

HQ flags went down to brigade level, and with Polk's troops not having the same style as did the rest of the AOT at the time, they probably had their national colors (Second Nationals) as HQ flags - and MAYBE these were called into service.

>>>>>Query-is it possible that the WD Capture No. 224 flag was from the 31st Miss.? Thus, making the 12 star flag reportedly the 31st Miss. flag (I believe WD Capture No. 226) a mystery.>>>>>

I doubt it - the information seems to point to the 40th Miss pretty solidly.

>>>>Query-why would the 31st Miss. carry a battle flag when the 40th Miss (if WD Cap. 224 is theirs), the 3rd Miss, and the 33rd Miss. are all second nationals? >>>>

I have covered this already above.

Greg Biggs

Messages In This Thread

Re: War Department Capture No. 224
Re: War Department Capture No. 224
Re: WD Capture No. 224 - Hugh's response
Re: WD Capture No. 224 - Hugh's response
Re: WD Capture No. 224 - Hugh's response
WD Capture No. 224
Re: WD Capture No. 224
Re: WD Capture No. 224
Re: War Department Capture No. 224
E-Mail Response Sent *NM*