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Civil War Trust

The Flags of Second Manassas

August 28-30, 1862

The Civil War Trust has partnered with leading Civil War flag conservancies to showcase a number of authentic Civil War flags that flew with units at the Battle of Second Manassas, August 28-30, 1862.  This exhibit is broken down chronologically into phases of the Second Manassas battle - starting with the fighting at Brawner's Farm and ending on the slopes of Henry Hill.

Brawner's Farm
August 28, 1862

6th Wisconsin Flag The 6th Wisconsin

As the fighting at Brawner's Farm intensified Brig. Gen. John Gibbon ordered the 6th and 7th Wisconsin forward to bolster his threatened line.  Like the rest of their brigade, the tough westerners of the 6th Wisconsin wore distinctive Hardee hats which later led to their nickname as the "Black Hat Brigade."  Carrying this battle flag into combat, the 6th Wisconsin occupied the low-lying ground on the Union right at Brawner's Farm.  The 6th was well positioned to beat back many of the evening charges made by Maj. Gen. Stonewall Jackson's forces on August 28, 1862.

Video: The "Black Hats" vs. the Stonewall Brigade at Brawner's Farm

The Wisconsin Veterans Museum (Madison, WI) | See More Wisconsin Flags

 

12th Georgia FlagThe 12th Georgia

Part of Brig. Gen. Isaac Trimble's brigade, the 12th Georgia advanced over the rock-strewn battlefield down towards the Confederate left.  Trimble's Brigade was to extend the Confederate left late on the evening of August 28, 1862.  Despite making several charges, Trimble's Brigade was unable to break the tough Union line that faced them on the Brawner Farm.  This battle flag flew with the 12th Georgia at Second Manassas. A distinctive tribute to the color bearers who were killed carrying the flag at the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam) was added later.

The Columbus Museum | Visit the Museum

 

56th Pennsylvania Flag

The 56th Pennsylvania

Part of the 2nd Brigade in Brig. Gen. Abner Doubleday's division, the 56th Pennsylvania was hurried forward towards Brawner's Farm on August 28, 1862.  Arriving just in time, the 56th faced the onslaught of Georgians and North Carolinians who were ordered to break the tenacious Federal line. Although it survived this brutal, close-range fight, the 56th lost its flag on August 29, 1862.  Thought to be gone forever, this flag was rediscovered after a former Civil War soldier from Illinois acquired the flag during a visit to North Carolina in 1887.

Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee | See More Pennsylvania Flags

 


Porter's Attack
August 30, 1862

30th New York FlagThe 30th New York

This wool, 34-star battle flag was carried by the 30th New York as it joined in the assault on the Deep Cut on August 30, 1862.  During the deadly advance, 10 different color bearers were killed or wounded carrying this flag.  Pierced by shot and shell, this flag became a symbol of the terrible devastation suffered at Second Manassas and the bravery of the New York soldiers who followed it during Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter's ill-fated attack. Governor Horatio Seymour of New York later met the survivors of the 30th New York and exclaimed,  “It [the flag] will be deposited among the treasured war trophies of the State - there to remain as a monument to the patriotism, endurance, and heroism of the Thirtieth regiment.”

Video: The Fight for the Deep Cut

New York State Military Museum | See More New York Flags

 

47th Alabama Flag

The 47th Alabama

Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter's mighty Federal assault on the Deep Cut on August 30, 1862, proved to be the largest Union attack against Stonewall Jackson's forces arrayed along the Unfinished Railroad.  Fighting from the protective walls of the Deep Cut, the Confederate soldiers bravely sought to prevent a breakthrough at this portion of the line, but a lack of ammunition and reinforcements threatened the entire position.  Jackson, sensing the impending danger, called for support.  The 47th Alabama, part of Col. Alexander Taliaferro's brigade was rushed into the maelstrom.  The 47th, along with other Confederate units, proved to be just enough to drive back Porter's attack along the Deep Cut.  This unusual regimental flag was carried by the 47th Alabama at Second Manassas.  Just a few weeks later, the 35th New York Regiment captured this flag at the Battle of Antietam and it was put on display in Watertown, N.Y. in June of 1863.

New York State Military Museum | See More New York Flags


17th New York FlagThe 17th New York (?)

While the exact regimental provenance for this flag is not fully known, this flag in the collection of the Manassas National Battlefield Park flew with a unit in Brig. Gen. Dan Butterfield's division at the Deep Cut on August 30, 1862.  After the war, Butterfield gave this flag to Private William W. Ryder, Co. F, 17th N.Y. Volunteer Infantry.

Manassas National Battlefield Park | Visit the Park

Longstreet's Attack
August 30, 1862

1st Texas Flag The 1st Texas

Known as "Mrs. Wigfall's Wedding Dress" - this 6-ft wide Lone Star flag was reportedly made, at least in part, from the wedding dress of Mrs. Louis Wigfall.  The 1st Texas, which received this flag in July 1861, was a part of Brig. Gen. John Bell Hood's Texas Brigade at Second Manassas.  The 1st Texas took part in the evening reconnaissance in force near Groveton on August 29, 1862, and was a key part in Maj. Gen. James Longstreet's flank attack on August 30, 1862.  The 1st Texas played a key role in smashing Col. Gouvernor Warren's 5th and 10th New York regiments as they made their way towards Chinn Ridge and Henry Hill. Just a few weeks after Second Manassas, the 1st Texas lost more than 80 percent of its men in the Cornfield at Antietam.

The Texas State Library & Archives Commission |  See More Historic Texas Flags

 

Flag of the 5th New YorkThe 5th New York
(Duryee's Zouaves)

Ordered to support Lt. Charles Hazlett's exposed battery on the Union left, the 5th and 10th New York Volunteers were in a highly vulnerable position at the start of Longstreet's powerful flank attack on August 30, 1862.  The 5th New York, known as Duryee's Zouaves, was decimated by the onrushing Texans and Georgians of Hood's Texas Brigade - suffering 102 killed, 235 wounded, and 75 missing in just 10 minutes of combat. It was the highest number of soldiers killed in any Federal regiment in any single battle of the Civil War. 

Video: The Destruction of the Zouaves

New York State Military Museum | See More New York Flags

 

18th Georgia Battle Flag

The 18th Georgia

Commanded by Col. William Wofford, the 18th Georgia was one of the leading regiments in Longstreet's August 30, 1862 flank attack.  Along with the rest of the Texas Brigade, the 18th Georgia slammed into Warren's 5th and 10th New York an, during   the tenacious fighting this flag was captured by a sergeant in the 5th New York.  The incensed Georgians fought to recapture the flag and took a lock of hair from the dispatched New Yorker as a battle trophy.  That lock of hair was tied to the flag to indicate restoration of honor. Some Georgians claimed that this was the only Yankee to ever touch their flag.  Seeking a replacement for this battle-worn banner, this historic wool flag was taken home to Georgia by Lt. Col. Solon Ruff in October 1863.   

Private Collection. Photography by JackMelton.com

 

Dogan's Ridge
August 30, 1862

Regimental Flag of the 7th WisconsinThe 7th Wisconsin

Having played a central role in the heavy fighting at  Brawner's Farm on August 28, 1862, the 7th Wisconsin and the rest of what would soon be called the Iron Brigade, were resting behind Dogan's Ridge on August 30, 1862.  After the 45th New York was routed by Col. Evander Law's Confederates advancing up the reverse slope, Brig. Gen. John Gibbon turned to the surviving men of the 2nd and 7th Wisconsin regiments and said, “Men will you go?” Then the soldiers cheered and an officer galloped out in front of them and shouted, “Come on boys, God damn them! We can keep them back.”  The advance of the 2nd and 7th Wisconsin along Dogan Ridge helped to drive back Law's forces and secure this strategic location long enough to help other Federal units moving quickly to the rear. 

The Wisconsin Veterans Museum (Madison, WI) | See More Wisconsin Flags

 

Chinn Ridge
August 30, 1862

Flag of the 73rd PennsylvaniaThe 73rd Pennsylvania

Known as the Pennsylvania Legion, the 73rd Pennsylvania was formed in August 1861 with soldiers from Philadelphia and Lancaster counties.  On August 30, 1862, five different color bearers holding this flag were killed or wounded.  For a short time this flag was captured during the battle, but subsequent counterattacks by the 73rd recaptured this prized flag. Part of Col John A. Koltes's brigade, the 73rd was engaged with Confederates under the command of Henry "Rock" Benning on Chinn Ridge.  Unable to stop the advance of the surging Confederates the 73rd was forced to retreat, leaving Chinn Ridge in the hands of the attackers.

Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Commission | See More Pennsylvania Flags

Henry Hill
August 30, 1862

 

44th Alabama FlagThe 44th Alabama

The 44th Alabama Regiment was organized at Selma, AL on May 16, 1861.  Arriving in Richmond in July 1861, the 44th was attached to Brig. Gen. Ambrose Wright's Brigade and was a part of James Longstreet's August 30, 1862 flank attack at Second Manassas.  The 44th, carrying the flag shown here,  was one of the Confederate regiments who engaged Federal forces across the hotly contested Sudley Road in front of Henry Hill.  The 44th would fight in every major engagement of the Army of Northern Virginia, and also took part in the 1863 battles at Chickamauga and Chattanooga.  This hard fighting regiment surrendered with the rest of Robert E. Lee's forces at Appomattox Court House in April of 1865.

Alabama Department of Archives & History | See More Alabama Civil War Flags

 

Flag of the 32nd Pennsylvania

The 3rd Pennsylvania Reserves (32nd Pennsylvania)

The 32nd Pennsylvania (3rd Pennsylvania Reserves) was formed in June 1861 with soldiers largely recruited from Philadelphia, Bucks, and Berks counties.  With the Union forces crumbling under the weight of Longstreet's powerful flank attack, the 32nd Pennsylvania, along with the remains of the other Pennsylvania Reserve regiments was positioned near the Henry House on Henry Hill.  Brig. Gen. John Reynolds, led his Pennsylvanians in a counterattack against Col. Henry Benning's Georgians.  Driving the 15th and 20th Georgia back across Sudley Road and into the nearby woods, the Reserves were in turn flanked and forced to retreat in confusion. Just when it seemed that the Union line might be breaking irretrievably, Reynolds grabbed a battle flag, rode among the men, and rallied them in the road cut, solidifying the Union line.

Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Commission | See More Pennsylvania Flags

With Thanks To

Mr. Greg Biggs for his considerable knowledge and assistance in helping us to assemble this feature.

Mr. Bo DuBose

Dr. Gordon Jones of the Atlanta History Center for his assistance with information on the 18th Georgia flag.

Mr. Chris Morton from the New York State Military Museum for his considerable help in sourcing and displaying the 47th Alabama and the New York flags in this display.

Mr. Jim Burgess from the Manassas National Battlefield Park.

Ms. Kristine Zickhur and Russ Horton at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum (Madison, WI).

Historian Jason Wilson at the Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee for his help with all things related to the Pennsylvania Civil War flags in this display.

Mr. John Anderson, Preservation Officer at the Texas State Library & Archives Commission for his help with the display of the 1st Texas flag.

Bob Bradley, Meredith McLemore, and Ryan Blocker at the Alabama Department of History and Archives.

Rebecca Bush, curator for the Columbus Museum, for permission in using the 12th Georgia flag image.

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