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Posted By: David Winfred Gaddy on: 09/03/2005 21:44:41 EDT
Subject: RE: Signal flags

Message Detail:
Welcome! I'd suggest you run the "search" feature here, for we've had a good bit of discussion of this very subject.
At this moment, we know of only six (6) surviving authentic Confederate Army signal flags...and of those six, two of them are probably from the Independent Signal Corps (Petersburg HQ, operating along the James) and the others are from the "regular" signal corps. All have fields made of cotton, and center "squares" and hoists of various materials. None are the same size, only one even seems to be square. Construction suggests that someone raided a "mill end" shop--pieced splices, etc. This is too small a sample to generalize or to guess what was being stocked in Richmond and how procured.
The six flags are of two types--"sleeves" for the hoist, and hand-stitched, whipped eyelets. These latter probably bound to staff by leather thongs threaded through the holes. None of the six examples have ties stitched to then, as did the Union flags.
The best example I know of, confirmed to ANV, is a white with red square at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, and it was returned from the US War Depot as "WD 111." US Sig Corps reports in the OR describe the finding of this flag on Catoctin Mountain 1862 on the way to South Mountain and Antietam. It's about 42x53, sleeve.
UDC Museum in Charleston has a red with white square, 35x37, sleeve, that was brought out of Savannah and used at Fort Sumter.
Nat'l Civil War Museum, Harrisburg, PA, has a white with red square, 34.5x49, eyelet,taken at Ft. McAllister, GA Dec 1864.
Washington Lt Inf Museum, Charleston, has a white with red square 25.5x36.5, eyelet.
US Army Hist Inst, Carlisle, PA has a dark blue with white square, 43.5x43.5 sleeve, and the State of Illinois has a white with blue square, 35x46, sleeve. I think these two, taken in May 1864 on the James River below Richmond are from the Independent Sig Corps--whether they got their flags from Richmond or procured them locally hasn't been established.
I personally have much difficulty believing that there aren't more "out there," and expect them to pop up as more people know what they are. But be very cautious about eBay offerings. And note the difference between army and navy signal flags--the latter generally have rope attachments for "bending on" the signal hoists.
Given the state of things in LA, this may not be a good time to stir the pot, but Chuck Lee (Signals/5th Wash Arty) and others on this site may be able to assist you in getting involved. Also scan though the info on this site...and good luck to you.
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