The Flags of Middleburg
Battle Flags Associated with the Battle of Middleburg
Battle flags are some of the most powerful and evocative artifacts of the Civil War. Regimental flags were practical sources of identification and icons of immense pride for any unit. The battle flags in this exhibit were with regiments that fought in the Battle of Middleburg, June 17-19, 1863. Our thanks to the Museum of the Confederacy, the Rhode Island Army National Guard, and the Maine State Museum for their permission in sharing these images with you. Learn more about the Battle of Middleburg and how you can help save a portion of this battlefield »
The 1st Rhode Island Cavalry, Company L Guidon
The 1st Rhode Island Cavalry had been ordered into Middleburg on June 17, 1863. Their advanced and unsupported position in town left this regiment of 280 troopers exposed to the growing Confederate forces nearby. The Rhode Islanders were able to barricade the entrances into the town and set up an effective ambush along The Plains road, but by the morning of June 18th, the large numbers of North Carolinian cavalrymen overwhelmed this unit. Ordered to make a hasty escape, only 30 officers and men from the regiment would return to the Federal lines. This guidon from Company L of the 1st Rhode Island was captured by men in the 5th North Carolina and was returned to the State of Rhode Island in 2008.
Credit: Rhode Island Army National Guard. Our thanks to MSgt James Loffler.
The 9th Virginia Cavalry, Company D "Lancaster Cavalry"
This beautiful blue and gold flag was presented to Company D by the ladies of Lancaster County, Virginia. Lt. Aulbin D. Tapscott concealed this flag to avoid capture after his brother and color bearer, Lt. Chichester Tapscott was mortally wounded at Upperville, Virginia on June 21, 1863. At the Battle of Middleburg, the 9th Virginia played a key role in recapturing the summit of Mount Defiance after it had been briefly taken by the 1st Maine and 10th New York. Lt. George Beale of the 9th Virginia later wrote about the intense fighting at Mount Defiance, "The hand-to-hand encounter that ensued between us and these men of Maine and Pennsylvania was sharp and bloody. One of them, I observed, who had been unhorsed, and had backed up against an oak . . . and having fired his last cartridge, was defending himself with rocks . . . until he fell from their pistol shots."
The 1st Maine Cavalry Flag and Guidon
The 1st Maine Cavalry, part of Col. J. Irvin Gregg's Cavalry Brigade, was split into two groups for the attack upon Mount Defiance on June 19, 1863. Companies C and G, commanded by Maj. Stephen Boothby, were ordered to attack, mounted, directly up the Ashby Gap Turnpike and Companies E and M were ordered to support the attack just south of the turnpike. Boothby's men and four companies of the 10th New York Cavalry charged up the road through a hail of cannon and carbine fire and surrounded the Confederate gun in the road atop Mount Defiance. While circling their new position, the 1st Maine was then struck by the 9th Virginia which had been ordered forth to retake the summit of Mount Defiance. After a bloody fight with carbine, pistol, and saber, the 1st Maine was forced to retreat back down the Ashby Gap Turnpike. Much of the fighting between the 9th Virginia and 1st Maine took place on land that the Civil War Trust is now working to save.
Credit: Maine State Museum. Our thanks to Chief Curator of History and Decorative Arts Laurie LaBar.
The 2nd North Carolina Cavalry
Part of Chambliss' Brigade, the 2nd North Carolina Cavalry was positioned atop Mount Defiance on land the Civil War Trust is working to preserve. The 2nd North Carolina utilized the stout stone walls that bordered the Ashby Gap Turnpike and a blacksmith's shop at Mount Defiance as a strong defensive position on June 19, 1863.
To learn more about how you can help save a portion of the Mount Defiance battlefield at Middleburg please visit our Battle of Middleburg page »