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Description of the Gate City Guards (GA.) Flag

Here is the description and presentation ceremony of the flag of the Gate City Guards of Atlanta, GA. I have lots of flag presentation ceremony information for many units so please let me know if there is an interest for that information as well.

SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY [ATLANTA, GA], April 1, 1861, p. 2, c. 1

That Flag.

The material of which it is made is Silk of a very fine quality, and has elegant silk fringe all around it. It has a fine gold tassal [sic] and cord, attached to the top of the staff. On one side of the blue field is inscribed: "Gate City Guards, from the Ladies of Atlanta, 1861." On the reverse is, "In Hoc Signo Vinces," (by this sign you shall conquer.) The inscription on either side is surrounded by seven gilt stars.

The Staff is an elegant piece of workmanship, and was made and mounted in the State Railroad shop.

The spear was forged by Mr. Thomas Hainey, and furnished by Mr. Jacob Staddleman, and the whole presented to Miss Hanleiter by Mr. John H. Flynn.

SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY [ATLANTA, GA], April 1, 1861, p. 3, c. 1

A Sermon Before the "Gate-City Guards."

Yesterday morning, at ten o'clock, the spacious room in the City Hall was crowded to its utmost capacity, to hear a sermon from the Rev. Dr. J. S. Wilson--well known and universally beloved throughout this community--before the "Gate-City Guards," previous to their departure for Pensicola, which took place today at half-past one o'clock. It was a bright and glorious Spring morning, and the glorious orb of day seemed prodigal of his cheering light, as if in mockery of the sadness within many hearts at the parting with those who were near them, and whose patriotism called them to the point of their country's danger.--At half-past ten, the "Guards," with solemn tread, entered the room under command of Capt. Ezzard, and quietly took the front seats, which had been reserved for them. After some excellent vocal music, the venerable Minister arose, and, with evident emotion, read the morning lesson, which consisted of 1st, 46th, and 99th Psalms. He then offered up to the Throne of Grace a fervent, heart-moving prayer for the safety and protection of our gallant soldiers, the salvation of all his hearers, and the peace, prosperity and glory of our beloved land.

He selected his text from the 13thverse, 6th chapter of Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians: "Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, and having done all, to stand."

The first portion of his sermon was addressed to the congregation at large, urging the necessity of all Christians wearing the armor of Godliness, with which successfully to fight the great battles of life and win the never-fading crowns of glory which are reserved for the faithful to the end. The learned Divine then took up the causes which have for forty years been agitating the public mind and exciting apprehensions for our safety on the part of the people of the South, and which have brought about our present difficulties. With a master hand he portrayed those causes, pointed out their remedies, and established the justice of our cause. He implored the blessings of Heaven on our threatened country and her gallant defenders. His features glowed with earnestness, and his eloquence and power as a pulpit orator are peculiarly his own. All who were present, listened spell-bound to his burning words, and were deeply impressed. Many mothers, wives and sisters of those who left to-day, earnestly lifted up their hearts in silent prayer for their safety. May their Christian spirits, like guardian angels, hover over and protect our gallant soldiers from every temptation and evil, and from all harm.

SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY [ATLANTA, GA], April 1, 1861, p. 3, c. 2-3

Flag Presentation to the Gate-city Guards.

Within a few days past, it became known to a few that Miss Josephine E. Hanleiter had prepared a most elegant Flag of the Confederate States to be presented to the Gate-City Guards, and that the presentation ceremonies would take place this morning, which it did, in front of the large building of the Franklin Printing Company. The sky was overcast with dense clouds at early dawn, which continued to grow more threatening till it terminated in rain about 9 o'clock. Notwithstanding this unfavorable aspect of the weather, early signs of preparation for the approaching ceremonies were observable in the rapid passing, to and fro, of men rigged out in military dress, and the gathering of a large multitude of people on the platform and under the eaves of the Macon & Western Depot, just opposite. The windows of all the surrounding contiguous houses were filled with ladies. The long verandah in front of the Franklin Building was crowded with ladies and misses, who stood there with umbrellas to protect them from the falling rain. Every window of the large building--and indeed almost every room in it--was crammed with human beings, all eager to get a sight of the interesting proceedings. There were also a large number of persons on the top of the house, despite the falling rain--so anxious were the people to see all that transpired.

At a quarter past 10 o'clock, the heavy roll of the drum and the shrill notes of the fife gave notice of the approach of the military. The procession was headed by the Fulton Dragoons, commanded by Capt. W. T. Wilson; next came the Georgia Volunteers, under command of Lieutenant Johnson; next the Fulton Blues, Capt. J. H. Purtell; next the Atlanta Cadets, Captain Wills Chisholm; and the Gate City Guards brought up the rear. It was a splendid and imposing military array, every way worthy of our city and the military spirit of our people.

The Dragoons took their position in the rear, fronting the Franklin Printing House--the Georgia Volunteers on the right flank, with the Blues and Cadets on the left. Into this hollow square, just in front of the Dragoons, the Guards were marched in fine style. The rain and the travel over the street had made any amount of mud and slush in the street, but the soldiers heeded it not.

When all were arranged, Miss Hanleiter, accompanied by Miss Emeline Shaw and Miss Mary Parr, emerged from Col. Hanleiter's residence and took their position on the front of the pavement. Miss Hanleiter bore in one hand the beautiful Flag which she had prepared, and in the other an elegant boquet [sic] of choice Spring flowers. She rested the flag-staff upon the pavement, while Gen. J. H. Rice, on the part of the ladies, made the presentation speech as follows:


Why the assemblage here? Why peals forth the note of martial music? Why this Paraphernalia of War which I see before me? But a few short months ago, the citizens of what was then the United States of America, were living in peace and harmony with each other. But in the course of events a fanatical party usurped the reigns of Government, foisting themselves into power by the assertion of a principle that was destructive to our very existence, to-wit: the infamous dogma of an Equality of the White and Black Races. While I, for the sake of not being considered contentious, would admit that, in many respects, this doctrine would apply to many of the people of the Abolition States of the North; yet we of the South rightfully insist that the Black Race are, and should be, our Slaves, and we their Masters; and that such relative status was given by the decrees of GOD; and which law of our society was recognized by the Constitution of the United States, and which they were bound by such solemn compact to observe. Regardless of this compact--led on by their lust for power, and guided by their fanaticism, and relying upon our submissiveness, in consequence of our known veneration of the Union of our Fathers--there was no indignity that was not heaped upon us; and, finally, the last feather was laid upon the camel's back. The Union was dissevered by them.--They forced us to resume our sovereignty. We have done so, and declared ourselves a free and independent State, have entered into a new alliance, and now, when we have a right to suppose that we would be permitted to depart in peace--as the consciences of the Abolitionists would be relieved of the sin of Slavery--they refuse to allow us so to depart, for fear their pockets will be depleted also!

For asserting our independence, the superiority of our Race, and the contracting of new alliances, the old and decripid [sic] Government of the North is threatening us with war and subjugation!

It is, I am proud to know, in defence of this principle and this action--in defence of our own honor, and the honor of our own native South, that we now see you clad in the habiliments of war--ready, in a few hours, to take up your line of march for what may soon be a field of gory strife. To preserve unsullied and untarnished one's own honor, and the honor of his country, is the highest, the noblest ambition of the patriot soldier.

"For gold the merchant plows the main--

The farmer ploughs the manor;

But glory is the soldier's prize:

The soldier's wealth is honor."

Capt. Ezzard: As the humble representative of a few ladies of this city, I now have the honor of presenting to you, and through you to your noble Company, this Flag--the Flag of the Confederate States of America, in whose service you have enlisted. Under the guidance of those seven stars--the emblems of eternal Truth--you will march; and under its bright folds upon the field of battle, you will rally to meet the enemies of your country; there to

"Strike the North'n invader low;

A tyrant will fall in every foe;

Liberty's in every blow!

Soldiers! conquer, live or die!"

In conclusion, I will only say, that the fair daughters of Atlanta are proud of the Gate-City Guards--we are all proud of you--proud of such noble defenders. They already feel confident that upon the field of battle, this Flag will wave so long as one of the Guards survive, and I doubt not but that the remembrance of the fair donors will nerve the arm of each one of your noble patriot band to deeds of daring that the future historian will inscribe in letters of light upon the historic page.

And now, in behalf of the fair donors, and for myself, I bid you farewell! Put your trust in GOD, in Truth, and in Right. May His blessings attend you--His kind providence protect you, and vouchsafe to you a safe return to your homes, your kindred and your friends!

At the conclusion of his address, he took the flag from the hands of Miss Hanleiter and gave it to "First Private" C. A. Haralson, who received it on the part of the Company in an appropriate address, of which the following is the substance:

GENERAL RICE AND LADIES: It is a "well spring" of pleasure to me that I am called upon to receive, at your hands, this beautiful and well thought-of present. The ladies of the South have ever been heroic and true to their country, and thoughtful to provide for those who go forth in its defense. Their encouragement and cheering smiles have ever beamed on patriotic hearts; and it is peculiarly gratifying to us to receive from your hands this token of your regard for us, and for the cause in which we are engaged.

Ladies: The signs of the times indicates that we, perhaps, are not called upon to do duty as mere peace soldiers; but that, with strong arms and stout hearts, we may have to meet our country's foes before our service shall end. The boast has been made that our homes and firesides should be invaded, our country despoiled and our manhood humbled in the dust. It is the duty of our young men to come forward, strike for the protection of our country--our homes--our wives, sisters and mothers; and, if necessary, die in their defense. We accept the issue, and with gratitude we accept this beautiful Flag which your fair hands have wrought. Our motto shall be that which was given by the Spartan mother to her son when he was departing to fight in defence of his country: "Return with this, or upon it!" Again, Ladies, accept our heartfelt thanks.

He then turned and gave the Flag to Sergeant Fish, the Standard bearer of the Company, and addressed him as follows:

Sergeant Fish: As Color bearer of our Company, I give into your hands for your safekeeping, this token of love and esteem from the ladies of this city; and I enjoin upon you to cherish and protect it, as you would a prized gift from a mother; and if the necessity should arise, do not hesitate to shed your blood in defence of the honor of this Flag.

And now, (addressing his Company,) brother soldiers of the Gate-City Guards, behold your Flag! I know you will never see it dishonored.

Brothers: This is a gift from "God's last best gift to man." If nothing else should inspire you to heroic deeds, the fact that this beautiful Flag has been wrought by the fair hands, and given us through the kind heart of woman, I know you will never suffer its folds to be sullied, or see it trail in the dust, while an arm remains with which to raise it, or a hand to strike. Cherish, then, our Banner; and should it be our duty to meet our foes in deadly conflict, let us show, by our valor, that we are worthy of the confidence which the ladies have reposed in us, and the Flag with which they have honored us.

Mr. Haralson's remarks were received with applause by the vast audience; and when he appealed to his gallant compatriots not to suffer the honor of the Flag to be sullied, a universal shout of "Never! NEVER!" was the response by the whole company.

When he had concluded, Sergeant A. G. Chisolm advanced, and, on the part of the Company, presented to Miss Hanleiter, to whom the credit of getting up, making and presenting this Flag is principally due, a beautiful Lady's Gold Watch, accompanied by an appropriate and elegant speech, which was handsomely replied to by General Rice, on the part of Miss Hanleiter. We have not space to-day for these two speeches, but will give them tomorrow. The Watch has the following inscription:

"Gate-City Guards, to Miss J. E. HANLEITER, April 1, 1861."

Three cheers were then called for, and given with a will by the vast throng, for the Ladies, and three more for the "Guards," after which the Company marched to their Armory, escorted by the "Dragoons," "Blues," "Volunteers," and "Cadets," and the crowd dispersed.
[there followed a List of the Officers and Privates of the Gate-City Guards.]

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