CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA
 


 
BATTLE FLAGS OF THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT
 

Notes
 

The Trans-Mississippi Department was the orphan theater of the Confederate Army, particularly after the summer of 1863 when the fall of Vicksburg effectively severed it from the rest of the Confederacy. The units stationed there, most of them from Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas, used a wide variety of flags, some based on the First and Second National Flags, some on the Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag, and some of unique design.

Credit: The text and drawings on this page are based on information from the late Devereaux Cannon's Flags of the Confederacy website.
 

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THE VAN DORN BATTLE FLAG

 

 

FIRST ISSUE SECOND ISSUE

General Earl Van Dorn designed this flag for his "Army of the West," and a few may have been ready in time for the Battle of Elk Horn Tavern. However no general issue of these flags was made until the summer of 1862. There were several variants of the Van Dorn Battle Flag, which continued in service until late 1863. The first issue consisted of fringed flags; later issues had yellow binding instead of fringe and were furnished with a pole sleeve. All variants were probably made of bunting. Whether these flags should be classified as Trans-Mississippi flags is a debatable point, since mostly they were used east of the river, but General Van Dorn, who created the design, was the first commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department.

 

THE MISSOURI BATTLE FLAG

 

The Missouri regiments that served in the Vicksburg campaign carried flags of a design unique to the state's units serving in the Confederate Army. In late 1863 or early 1864, the Missouri regiments of Burns' Brigade serving in the Trans-Mississippi Department received new battle flags of the same pattern: blue, red-bordered, with a white Latin cross at the hoist. These flags were made of bunting and several variants existed, one of which is illustrated above.

 
FIRST AND SECOND NATIONAL BATTLE FLAG VARIANTS

 

FIRST NATIONAL VARIANT    11 STARS

 

11th MISSISSIPPI  INFANTRY

 

 

SECOND NATIONAL VARIANT 14th MISSISSIPPI INFANTRY

Both the First National Flag and the Second National Flag served as regimental colors for various units in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Their designs varied widely, however, and information concerning these flags is sketchy. The four illustrations above depict typical variants. The 33rd Texas Cavalry carried a flag similar to the Second National variant shown above on the left.

 

THE TAYLOR BATTLE FLAG

 

 

VARIANT DESIGNS

 

3rd TEXAS INFANTRY

Several variants of the ANV Battle Flag with reversed coloration are known to have been used in the Trans-Mississippi Department. This type of flag is often called the Taylor Battle Flag after General Richard Taylor, whose army employed it in West Louisiana from 1864 to the end of the war. (Taylor was the son of Mexican War hero and US President Zachary Taylor.) These flags were made of bunting and several variants existed. Some Texas regiments received similar flags, including the fine silk color of the 3rd Texas Infantry. This flag was made in Cuba, paid for by Confederate expatriates living there who donated it to the regiment. The stars and unit designation were embroidered in silver wire and the fringe was knotted silk. The colors were evidently reversed because a written description of the ANV battle flag was misinterpreted.

 
TEXAS BATTLE FLAGS
 

 

These flags depict two of the many Trans-Mississippi variations on the design of the ANV battle flag and were, as the oversized central star suggests, used by Texas units. Flags similar to the one on the left above were carried by many Texas cavalry units. The flag on the right was captured at Fort Semmes in 1863; it belonged to the artillery company that garrisoned the fort.

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