Flag: 43rd Alabama Infantry (Probable)
Catalogue No. 86.1882.1
(PN10183-10184)

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Provenance Reconstruction:

This flag is an Army of Northern Virginia, 6th wool bunting issue. It was manufactured at the Richmond Depot during the winter of 1864-1865. It was returned to the State of Alabama in June 1943 by Mrs. Rosamond Allen, South Duxbury, Massachusetts. Mrs. Allen was representing the heirs of Joshua L. Chamberlain of Maine. The flag of the 5th Alabama Battalion, captured during "Picketts Charge" at Gettysburg was returned at the same time. It is unclear as to how Chamberlain came into the possession of either flag. While this flag was listed as "Alabama flag not positively identified," by Department staff, evidence suggests that it may be the flag of the 43rd Alabama Infantry.

In Major General A. A. Humphrey's report concerning the action near Hatcher's Run, Virginia, March 25, 1865 he states that "we captured the battle flags of the Forty-third and Sixty-ninth1 Alabama." At the time of the engagement Brigadier General Joshua Chamberlain commanded the First Brigade, First Division, Fifth Army Corps. During the engagement Chamberlain placed the 185th New York Infantry (Colonel Gustavus Sniper commanding) in the front line in a space between the Divisions of General Miles and General Mott. The men at Colonel Sniper's front consisted of the 43rd, 59th and 60th Alabama Infantry. Lt. Col. Charles H. Weygant, 124th New York Volunteers, also reported engaging these regiments and capturing the flag of the 59th Alabama Infantry. While the flag of the 59th Alabama was forwarded to the War Department, there is no record of the disposition of the flag of the 43rd Alabama. Since General Humphrey does report the capture of the 43rd Alabama’s flag and there is no record of its having been sent to the War Department it is possible that the flag was taken (picked up) by the men under Sniper’s command and retained by Chamberlain as a trophy.

Sources:
      Curator’s Object Files, Civil War Flags, Alabama Department of Archives and History.
      U. S. House of Representatives, 50th Congress, 1st Session, Executive Document No. 163. Captured Battle Flags: Letter from the Secretary of War with Enclosures, In response to a resolution of the House calling for information relative to captured standards, flags and colors, War Department, Washington, February 16, 1888.
      U.S. War Department. War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.


1This was the flag of the 59th Alabama Infantry. Either Humphrey was mistaken or there was an error in transcription at the time the Official Records were compiled.

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Updated: October 25, 2006