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[From the Richmond Dispatch, April 26, 1896.]
THE CONFEDERATE FLAG.
An Interesting Letter from General Bradley T. Johnson.
ACTS OF CONGRESS REGULATING IT.
To the Editor of the Dispatch:
The Confederate flag, with the memories it arouses, is very dear to many people, and we think it but justice to perpetuate a true and accurate description of it-"The Stars and Bars." I can find no record of it in the acts of Congress. It was used by companies and regiments in Virginia in 1861, without authority, and just as a matter of taste.
After Manassas, Beauregard had prepared at his headquarters a design for a flag, which was painted in water colors. It was a red square, on which was displayed a blue St. Andrew's cross, bordered with white, and charged with thirteen white, five-pointed stars.
This was adopted in general orders from army headquarters, and became the battle-flag of the Confederacy, which should blaze in many a coming trial, showing its followers the way to duty and to death.
Three flags were made by "the three Cary girls," out of their own silk frocks, one for Joe Johnston, Beauregard, and Van Dorn each, and were always floated at the headquarters of these generals and on the march and in the battle showed where they were. This was Beauregard's battle-flag!
ACT OF MAY 1, 1863.
May 1, 1863, an act of Congress was passed to establish the flag of the Confederate States, and it provided that the battle-flag should be the union of the new flag, and that the field should be white. I never saw this flag with troops. General Lee had one in front of his headquarters. The first time this flag was ever used, and I suspect the first that was ever made, was used as a pall over the bier of Stonewall Jackson as he lay in state in the Governor's house in Richmond, in May, 1863. But this flag looked too much like a flag of truce, and did not show at sea, so the story went, and consequently
on March 4, 1865, just twenty-eight days before the death of the Confederacy, Congress passed another act, adding a broad red bar across the end of it. I never saw this flag, nor have I ever seen a man who did see it or who saw a man who did see it—with this exception: Colonel Lewis Euker tells me that riding down to General Custis Lee's quarters in November or December, 1864, he saw this flag flying over Howard's Grove Hospital, and his companion, a German gentleman then serving in the Ninth Virginia Cavalry, asked him what flag that was, and this incident impressed itself on his memory.
NEARLY CERTAIN TO BE RIGHT.
There is no possibility of doubting the accuracy of Colonel Euker's memory. He is as nearly certain to be right as any man I know, but there is confusion here. The flag was not adopted until March 4, 1865, and he saw it several months before. I explain this by thinking the design for the new flag was known and canvassed. have a colored lithograph now, made by Hoyer & Ludwig, at the time, for Major Arthur L. Rodgers, who designed this alteration, and gave me the picture in December, 1864. So, I take it, the doctors at the hospital had made themselves a new flag to set the fashion. But that was not a flag authorized by law, and I have yet to see a man who saw such a flag, or saw any man who saw a man who saw one. After March 4, 1865, we were not making flags. Please print the acts of Congress establishing the flags. The last act has never been printed.
BRADLEY T. JOHNSON.
FROM THE RECORDS.
We comply with General Johnson's request by printing the Act of May 1, 1863, and the amendment thereto, passed March 4, 1865: An act to establish the flag of the Confederate States:
The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That the flag of the Confederate States shall be as follows: The field to be white, the length double the width of the flag, with the union (now used as the battle-flag) to be a square of two-thirds the width of the flag, having the ground red; thereon a broad saltier of blue, bordered with white, and emblazoned with white mullets or fivepointed stars, corresponding in number to that of the Confederate States. (First Congress, third session. Approved May 1, 1863.)
The foregoing was amended by the following act;
The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That the flag of the Confederate States shall be as follows: The width, two-thirds of its length, with the union (now used as the battle-flag) to be in width three-fifths of the width of the flag, and so proportioned as to leave the length of the field on the side of the union twice the width of the field below it; to have the ground red, and a broad blue saltier thereon bordered with white, and emblazoned with mullets or five-pointed stars, corresponding in number to that of the Confederate States; the field to be white, except the outer half from the Union to be a red bar extending the width of the flag. (Second Congress, second session. Approved March 4, 1865.) Official statement furnished to the editor of the Richmond Dispatch.
By authority of the Secretary of War.
F. C. AINSWORTH,
Colonel U. S. A., Chief Record and Pension Office.
[From the N. O. Picayune, April 5, 1896.]
THE BATTLE OF SHILOH.
A Graphic Description of that Sanguinary Engagement.
WRITTEN BY GENERAL JOSEPH WHEELER,
Now Member of Congress,
Who Commanded a Brigade and Made a Famous Charge at Shiloh under the Direction of General Albert Sidney Johnston.
The following article on the battle of Shiloh was written by General Joseph Wheeler, now representing the Eighth Alabama district. in the House of Representatives. Although now sixty years of age, General Wheeler is one of the most active members of that body.
He was born at Augusta, Ga., September 10, 1836, graduated at West Point in 1859, was lieutenant of cavalry and served in New Mexico; resigned in 1861; entered the Confederate army as lieutenant of artillery and was successively promoted to the command.
of a regiment, brigade, division, army corps; in 1862 he was assigned to command the army corps of cavalry of the western army, in which position he continued until the close of the war. By joint resolution of the Confederate Congress he was thanked for successful military operations, and received the thanks of the State of South Carolina for his defense of Aiken. May 11, 1864, he was the senior cavalry commander of the Confederate armies. In 1866 he was offered a professorship in the Louisiania State Seminary, which he declined. He was elected to the forty-seventh, forty-ninth, fiftieth, fifty-first, fifty-second, fifty-third and fifty-fourth congresses.
Upon my arrival at Corinth, March 9, 1862, says General Wheeler, I was assigned to the command of a brigade and was sent to the front near Monterey as the advance guard of our army (War Records, Vol. 10, part 2, page 307). While performing this duty I reconnoitered close up to the Federal lines, captured prisoners from the enemy's pickets, and gained information of their position and the general conformation of the country. On March 10th, a Federal reconnoisance in force, commanded by General Sherman, advanced, and after driving in our pickets beyond Monterey, retreated rapidly to their camp near Shiloh Church.
On April 3d General Johnston moved upon the enemy, and on the evening of April 5th the entire army was drawn up in two lines of battle in front of the Federal camps. There is no doubt but that the Federal commander knew there was a Confederate force near him, as in a lively skirmish on the evening of April 4th prisoners were captured by both sides, but the weight of evidence seems to indicate that he did not expect a general attack, and most certainly it could not have been expected as early as the morning of April 6th.
FORCES AT SHILOH.
On March 30, 1862, General Halleck reported Buell's forces at 101,051, and Grant's at 75,000, and the War Department says Grant reported his forces at 68, 175 on April 1, 1862. (See William Preston Johnston, page 538.)
Van Horn's Army of the Cumberland says, page 98:
Buell's force was 94,783 men. Of this, 73,472 were in condition for the field, and of this force 37,000 was to join in the movement against the enemy at Corinth. The remaining 36,000 effective troops were disposed by Buell for the defense of his communications."
The head of the column of 37,000 men was within seven miles of
the field on the evening of April 5th, and had joined Grant, and was in line and in action at 5 P. M. on the first day of the battle. (See War Records, Vol. 10, Nelson's Report, page 323; Colonel Amens, page 328; Colonel Grose's Report, page 337; Colonel Anderson's Report, page 739; Badeau, page 84.) And yet General Buell reports that but 21,579 of his army were actually engaged in the battle.
The returns of the War Department, as given by William Preston Johnston, page 685, claim that Grant's army on Sunday morning, April 6th, was only: Present for duty, 49,232; total present, 58,052.
Lewis Wallace's division was rested and in good condition, and within an hour's march of the battlefield when the action commenced; but as he did not become actually engaged on the 6th, it is contended that his division, 7,771 strong, should be deducted.
The highest figures, those of General Halleck, put the entire force under Grant and Buell at 176,000, and the lowest figures put the force actually engaged at 70,893.
War Records, volume 10, part 1, page 398, states that before leaving Corinth for the field of Shiloh, General Johnston's force was as follows: Effective total-Infantry, 34,727; artillery, 1,973; cavalry, 2,073; total 38,773. Total present-Infantry, 41,457; artillery, 2,183; cavalry, 2,785; total, 46,425.
A garrison was left at Corinth; large details were made to corduroy and repair roads. The cavalry did not get into action; troops were detached and sent to Hamburg and other points, making deductions amounting to at least 8,000, leaving those actually engaged at 30,773, so that either estimate would put the entire Federal force more than twice that of the Confederate.
Brigadier-General John K. Jackson was placed in command of my brigade, which, on April 6, consisted of the 2d Texas and the 17th, 18th, and 19th Alabama Regiments of infantry, and General Garrard's Battery, but after giving the first orders to move forward the duties performed by them were such that the command of the brigade devolved upon me, the orders I received coming directly from the commanding general, Albert Sidney Johnston, and Generals Bragg, Hardee, and Withers.