The Flags of the 4th Texas
This page describes the battleflags of the 4th Texas, looking both at what types of battleflag the 4th Texas carried during its four years of existence, and what happened to the battleflag after the war.
The 4th Texas carried two different battleflags during the Civil War. The first battleflag was presented to Colonel (later General) John B. Hood and the 4th Texas during November, 1861, by Lula Wigfall, daughter of Brigadier General Louis T. Wigfall, commander of the Texas Brigade. The battleflag was made from the silk wedding dress of Lula Wigfall's mother, who married General Wigfall twenty-five years before the Civil War.
The colors of this battleflag were the ones set by Confederate standards. The field of the battleflag was red, with a yellow border around the edges. The thirteen stars in the blue cross of the flag were white, with the center star being twice the size of the other twelve. (Apparently Miss Lula Wigfall felt that Texas was the most important state of the Confederacy, so she gave the Lone Star State an extra large star.) On the top of the flagstaff was a spearhead with the engraving, "Fear not, for I am with thee. Say to the north, give up, and to the south, keep not back."
The first battleflag of the 4th Texas was carried through the battles of Eltham's Landing, Gaines' Mill, Freeman's Ford, Second Manassas, Turner's Gap and Sharpsburg. The first colorbearer was Ed Francis of Company A, who carried the flag through all its battles until he fell seriously wounded on August 30, 1862 at the Battle of Second Manassas. It was also at Second Manassas that the spearhead of the flag was struck by a minie ball.
Eight more colorbearers fell in battle carrying this battleflag in the ensuing battles, and the flag was pierced by sixty-five bullets and three shells. The silken banner was retired on October 7, 1862, due to the heavy damage it sustained during all the battles in which it was carried.
Captain Stephen H. Darden of Company A took the flag back to Texas and presented it to Gov. F. F. Lubbock for deposit in the state archives. In 1865, as the war ended, Captain C. C. Walsh and Sgt. R. R. Robertson of Company B of the 4th (who were at home at the time), took the battleflag from the archives in Austin, wrapped it in a piece of oilcloth, and buried it on the banks of Barton's Creek near Austin. This kept it from the hands of the Federals who reached Austin the next day.
The first battleflag remained buried on the banks of Barton's Creek for six years. On June 27, 1861, the ninth anniversary of the battle of Gaines' Mill, the flag was resurrected by a few survivors of Company B, who had gathered to observe the anniversary.
The flag was committed to the custody of Val C. Giles, a former member of Company B of the 4th Texas. At the turn of the century, the flag was presented to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and it was placed in their museum in Austin.
When the first battleflag of the 4th was retired in October 1862, it was replaced by a second standard battleflag with a red field and blue cross with thirteen stars, although the middle star was again twice as large as the others. Presumably this second banner was carried throughout the rest of the war and was surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865.
I could not find any additional information on the second battleflag of the 4th Texas. The only picture that I found was in a book entitled Hood's Texas Brigade. It shows two former members of Company H of the 4th Texas (Capt. James T. Hunter and Capt. Frank B. Chilton) holding the first flag of the 4th Texas at a Hood's Brigade reunion in 1915.
The battleflag of the 4th Texas seems to have had as illustrious career as the regiment itself.
Written by Darin Richardson, 1992, revised 2009