History and flags

History of the Missouri Brigade

The Missouri Brigade, whose heritage we preserve and under whose colors we march, was mustered into Confederate service from units of the Missouri State Guard, near Springfield, Mo. in January 1862. The Missouri State Guard had served with distinction at the battles of Boonville, Lexington, Wilson's Creek and other.

As the Missouri Brigade in Confederate service, the unit fought at the battle of Pea Ridge and was instrumental in saving the Confederate Army from total destruction by Federal forces. In 1862, the Missouri Brigade was transferred east of the Mississippi along with other Missouri unites to fight (for the next three years) separated from their homes and their state.

While serving east of the Mississippi, the Missouri unites formed the Confederate Missouri Brigade. The Missouri Brigade participated in the battles of Iuka, Corinth, Champion's Hill and the siege of Vicksburg during 1862 and 1863.

1864 was a difficult year for the Army of Tennessee and the Missouri Brigade. The hard fought battles of the Atlanta Campaign, Alltoona and finally the disastrous Battle of Franklin Tennessee in November 1864, nearly destroyed the Missouri Brigade. At Franklin, Tennessee alone the Brigade suffered over 60% casualties in a little over one hour of combat.

1865 proved to be no better for the Missouri Brigade. Sent to the defense of Mobile, Alabama, the Missouri Brigade manned the defense of Ft. Blakeley. As they awaited the largest Federal assault of the war, the Missouri Brigade mustered only 400 survivors of the 4000 men who had crossed the Mississippi River three years earlier. Powerless to stop the Federal onslaught on April 9, 1865, the once proud Missouri Brigade, was overrun. Those who managed to escape soldiered on for another month, finally surrendering in late May of 1865.

During the war, approximately two out of every three members of the original Missouri Brigade died in battle, as a result of wounds or from disease. Yet, despite untold hardships created by war and separation from family and their home state, the soldiers of the Missouri Brigade continued to fulfill their duties and to uphold the honor of their regiment, and their state until the army and the country they served no longer existed.

Our unit, as well as other living history organizations, work today to preserve the memories of our ancestors and their deeds, both Union and Confederate, for this and future generations.

Flags of the Missouri Brigade

The Missouri State Guard Flag was never formally adopted as the official state flag in Missouri legislation.  The flag was adopted in Missouri by direction of General Sterling Price of the Missouri State Guard.  When orders were issued in the Spring of 1861 for district commanders of the State Guard to prepare their troops for active duty, they were instructed that each regiment: "was to carry a Missouri flag, made of blue merino, with the state arms in gold on both sides"

4th Missouri Infantry Regiment Flag is a Van Dorn pattern battle flag. It had a red field adorned with thirteen white stars arranged in five rows, with a white crescent in the upper corner. It also has a yellow border. A number of Trans-Mississippi commands used this flag. When General Van Dorn brought his regiments to the east of the side of the river in 1862 to join Beauregard's army at Corinth, Mississippi, they brought these flags with them and fought under them at the battle of Corinth in October of that year.  The 4th Infantry Regiment completed its organization in April, 1862 with men from Springfield and the surrounding area. Most all of its members served in the Missouri State Guard.

The Missouri Battle Flag was distinctly associated with the Trans-Mississippi Department. It was carried almost exclusively by Missouri regiments, becoming identified as the "Missouri Battle Flag". It is a blue flag bordered with red, and a white Roman cross in the field near the hoist of the flag.

The First National Flag also know as the "Stars and Bars" was adopted March 4, 1861, by the Confederate Congress.  Like some of the early state flags, the 1st. National looked similar to the "Stars and Stripes". It was designed by Nicola Marschall of Alabama. The flag had three equal horizontal bars: red, white, and red.  When it was first adopted, the blue canton consisted of seven starts in a circle, symbolizing the first seven states of the Confederacy: South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, and Texas.

The Confederate Battle Flag was adopted in 1861 to avoid confusion on the battlefield with the 1st National because they looked so much alike. General P.G.T Beauregard proposed that the design of William Porcher Miles as the Confederate battle flag.  Miles designed a rectangular red field crossed with a blue saltier, also known as the Saint Andrew's Cross, holding 7 white stars, symbolizing the 7 states of the Confederacy at the time.  

The Second National Flag was adopted in May of 1863, because the 1st National looked too similar to the Stars and Stripes and was hard to distinguish between the two amidst the smoke and confusion on the battlefield.  This flag was nicknamed "The Jackson Flag" because it was first officially used to cover the casket of Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson at his funeral.  It is commonly know as the "Stainless Banner" because of the plain white field.  The flag's red canton was crossed by a white-edged, blue saltier, also know as the Saint Andrew's Cross, holding 13 white stars for the 13 states of the Confederacy. 

The Third National Flag was adopted in March of 1865 was adopted in March of 1865.  The Confederate Congress changed the flag's proportions and added a red vertical bar to the fly end.  Only a few of the 3rd. Nationals were made before the surrender at Appomattox.  The red bar now symbolizes the blood shed by the Confederate veterans. 

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