The Louisiana in the Civil War Message Board - Archive

Pvt. Holmes Nathan Willis, Co. I, 8th La.

I have been researching the "four stand of colors" reportedly captured by Hays' Brigade during its attack on Cemetery Hill. In the April, 1863, issue of "Pennsylvania History - A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies" there is an eyewitness accoount by a lieutenant of the 8th Louisiana:

At 6 or a little after our brigade with one N.C.Regt.

from Hoke's Brigade was ordered to charge the heights

in front of us.... [W]e went over fences, ditches,

two marshy fields and we "fotched up" at a stone

fence behind which Mr. Yank had posted himself and he

did not want to leave - - but with bayonets and

clubbed guns we drove tem back, by this time it was

dark & we couldn't tell whether we were shooting our

own men or not. Some of our men went on up to the

battery. Duchamp the color bearer was wd & Leon

Gusman carried the colors up to the battery and

planted them on the breastworks, he was then wd or

taken & our colors lost - - Willis had a hand to hand

fight with a Yank and took his colors away from


I have tracked Private [Holmes Nathan] Willis. He was subsequently wounded at Rappahannock on October 7, 1863, lost his right arm, and was permanently disabled. He lived until May 8, 1916, and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in New Orleans.

I am attempting to determine what flag Private Willis captured. A site for the 75th Ohio has a picture of the regiment's second national colors received in 1864. The caption states that this flag "replace[d] the National Colors that were captured at Gettysburg on the 2nd day at Cemetery Hill."

In summary, I guess all I have got from all this is that Private Willis captured a flag, one of the four captured by Hays' Brigade, and it could have the national color (1 in 4 chance) of the 75th Ohio.

Does anyone have any additional information? Or, regarding the other three stand of colors captured by Hays' Brigade, does anyone know what what regiments captured and what flags were captured?

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Pvt. Holmes Nathan Willis, Co. I, 8th La.
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