Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Eighth Arkansas Infantry Battle Flag

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on July 27, 2014


My colleague Rob Baker has been doing a good job in covering the dispute over the which Confederate flag to display at the historic depot in Ringgold, Georgia. For years, the city has flown a Hardee Flag, similar in design to those used by Pat Cleburne’s troops that fought around the depot in the Battle of Ringgold Gap in November 1863. The local Sons of Confederate Veterans camp is the plaintiff in a long-running legal battle to have the more familiar Confederate Battle Flag displayed, in reference to Confederate soldiers from that area generally who served in all theaters of the war.

As it happens, on Saturday I came face-to-face with the battle flag of the Eighth Arkansas Infantry at the Texas Civil War Museum in Fort Worth, which fought at Ringgold Gap as part of Cleburne’s force. I think this flag was probably present at the fight, as it was replaced with this color of the 1864 pattern, carrying a battle honor for Ringgold Gap. It was said that the Hardee pattern had “no artistic taste about it, but which could not be mistaken” for a U.S. flag, which was a serious problem with using the Confederacy’s First National flag on the battlefield.



7 Responses

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  1. Rob Baker said, on July 27, 2014 at 11:39 am

    I really like that flag. It is said that Cleburne’s men did not fly the flags in battle, due to it being an ambush. I can see that argument as having validity prior to the ambush, but once Goldthwaite’s Napoleon’s opened up, I’d imagine the flags were flown. I cannot find a source where Cleburne ordered the flags furled, I do have a source where Cleburne would not allow his men to capture certain Union flags though. Great picture btw.

    • Andy Hall said, on July 27, 2014 at 11:54 am

      It’s a terrible picture, but I was pressed for time and only had my phone.

      The museum has a really fantastic collection, BTW, that you’d never expect to see in an out-of-the-way place (in CW terms) like north Texas. Tremendous collection of flags, uniforms, arms, women’s fashions, even artillery. It’s definitely worth the trouble to work into your schedule whenever you’re in the area.

  2. L Kay Price said, on July 27, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    One of the many fabulous artifacts at our local CW museum in Ft. Worth and it was awesome to meet you there on Saturday! Thank you for taking so much time with each of us and patiently answering questions.

  3. Reed (the original, accept no substitutes) said, on July 27, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    As so often is the case with flags of that vintage, I’m guessing that some or all of the original colors have faded or changed with time. Do you have any idea what the original hues were on this flag? Just wondering.

    • Andy Hall said, on July 27, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      White and dark blue fabric. Not sure about the lettering.

  4. Reed (the original, accept no substitutes) said, on July 27, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Andy, I can’t remember if you’ve mentioned this before, but for your readers that have interest in CW battle flags, the Ohio Historical Society has a fine website devoted to the history and (ongoing) preservation of their substantial battle flag collection.

    From the site description: 434 flags date from the Civil War, representing 177 regiments of infantry, cavalry troops and artillery. There are national colors, regimental colors, guidons, and flank markers. Also included are flags of the Black Brigade and the Ohio Ex-Prisoners of War.

    Naturally, the focus is on units from Ohio.

    It’s well worth a look:

  5. lwhite1864 said, on August 6, 2014 at 9:15 am

    It was the flag being carried by the 8th at the time, so most likely it was carried at Ringgold Gap. I also think that once the ambush was sprung that the flags would have come out.

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