Army of Tennessee Depot Issued Flag


Description and Photograph




   Jacob Platt made the flags of this pattern on contract to the August Depot in the winter of 1863.  They became official after General Joseph Johnston took command of the Army of Tennessee in December 1863.  They first appeared in the field in January of 1864. General Johnston had ordered that each of his regiments carry this pattern and this pattern alone.  In order number 25, on February 19, 1864 he made it official.

   The first units to get these flags in 1864 were the KY troops of the Orphan Brigade (based on their brigade QM records).    Major deliveries of the new rectangular version battle flag did not arrive until after the first week of February, 1864.  During the second week of February 1864 at least 40 new battle flags were moving from Augusta, via Atlanta, to the Army of Tennessee encamped at Dalton, and at least one hundred were delivered in February alone. Others followed in early March.  On 11 March 1864, Lieutenant-General Hood, commanding one of the two corps of the army commanded the chief quartermaster to take immediate steps to provide the command with these colors.  The corps getting these flags at the time were Hardee's and Hood's.  Hood issued orders for the flags of his corps to get battle honors in March, 1864.  Polk's Corps, the Army of Mississippi, did not get these flags at all.  That corps did not arrive until May, 1864 after the Atlanta Campaign began.  They brought with them their rectangular, Mobile Depot battle flags.

     At least fifty-two battle flags associated with these three corps survive in public repositories throughout the country, but there are only a few remaining in private collections.  This particular Infantry sized Army of Tennessee flag remained with the descendents of itís captor until July of 2005 and is so documented.  The family relates that the flag was handed down from his great-grandfather Charles H. Tompkins who had served in the War Between the States.  According to the family he was a New York Cavalryman and that the flag was captured at Fort Fisher, North Carolina.  As is frequently the case, the family history is incorrect, neither their ancestor nor this flag could have been at Fort Fisher.  The correct ancestor was Charles A. Tompkins, 137th New York Infantry.  The 137th fought at Avarasboro and Bentonville, marched to Goldsboro, Raleigh and was at the surrender at Bentonville.  It was almost certainly at one of these latter engagements that Sergeant Tompkins acquired this flag, and diligent research may reveal where and from whom.

     The flat measures roughly 36 by 51 inches on the fly.  It remains in excellent condition.  All of the original staff ties remain and the colors remain brilliant; it is one of the most attractive and rare flags I have ever had.  As expected the flag had some damage from use, but appears to have been very well taken care of.  The accompanying photographs show before and after restoration by Old South Military Antiques LLC.  The restoration is non-invasive and was done by underlying the flags missing portions with original material taken from a period U.S. flag so that it would not only match color, but also match texture.  The flag will be delivered to your door pressure mounted behind ultra violet protective plexiglass, in a beautiful gold and black frame all for one low price of $105,000.00.

     The flag comes with all documentation and a full textile and dye analysis.




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