Courtesy of the Battle of Franklin Trust




This flag was made by local Franklin citizens Elizabeth Wells, Fannie Wells, Actava? Courtney, Herrittice? Short in April/May 1861 and presented to the Williamson Grays during a barbeque at McGavock Grove by the Ladies of Franklin on May 10, 1861.  The flag was sent back to Franklin because the regiment chose to carry the Rock City Guards flag (pictured below) after reaching Virginia.  Private James McEwen was discharged in 1861 and returned the flag and buried it in a bottle until the war ended.  It was donated to the Carter House museum and is currently on display there.

Courtesy of the Tennessee State Museum

This flag originally belonged to the Rock City Guards from Nashville.  It was captured in an ambush during the Cheat Mountain Campaign on September 12, 1861.  The star outside of the circle has several different theories behind it.  One is representing Tennessee ascending into the Confederacy.  Another is perhaps three more stars were meant to go in the other corners as other states seceded.  The dimensions of the flag measure 35.5" x 83".  It is made of linen, wool, cotton, and silk. Currently held at the Tennessee State Museum.  On their official record of the flag it describes the flag as:

"Confederate Flag; blue field in upper staff corner with 9 large white stars, 8 in a circle and 1 outside the circle; faded red stripes at top and bottom with white stripe between lower red stripe made in two pieces; two large bloodstains, one at center, one at outer edge; several smaller bloodstains; numerous bullet & moth holes overall; starred edge of flag has rope with tassels and red & blue ribbons at each end.

It was captured by Capt. Chauncey of the 13th Indiana Infantry and donated to the state of Tennessee by Chauncey's granddaughter, Mrs. Franklin C. Goode, from Chattanooga, TN on March 13, 1982.


Courtesy of the Tennessee State Museum


Despite popular belief this flag in all likelihood does not belong to the 1st Tennessee.  While it was captured by the 1st Wisconsin it is believed to have belonged to the 27th Tennessee and mistaken in identity after the battle by Federal troops.  After the war during a reunion of the 1st Tennessee a member of the 1st Wisconsin sent a letter stating ownership of the flag and his willingness to allow the regiment to borrow it for their reunion.  Members of the regiment responded that they never lost their Polk Corps flag.  There are no accounts from any soldiers in the regiment saying their flag was lost in the battle. 

Captain Bailey P. Steele, wounded in the thigh at the Battle of Perryville, of Company B of the 1st Tennessee recalls in a newspaper article in 1908 referring to losing the flag at Perryville, "I have never believed that our battle flag was lost on that occasion, or in any other battle during the war until the regiment surrendered in April 1865....I have never been able to see any possible chance for the enemy to have captured the flag of the First."


Courtesy of the Tennessee State Museum


The exact date of this flag's arrival to the regiment is unknown.  It is possible this was the original Polk Corps flag they received upon becoming attached before Shiloh, and then altered after the battle of Perryville later that year.  The flag is made of wool bunting and the two white "waves" carried the honors Shiloh and Perryville.  On the red cross in the bottom center contained a set of crossed cannons.  It was painted on a white block and sewn to the flag.  A star is believed to be missing on the extreme right side of the flag above the wave.  The white banner across the top containing the regimental name measures 3".  The lettering on the banner was painted on black with a goldish outline around the lettering.  It was attached to the pole using four tie strings.  The dimensions of the flag are 28" x 46".  A streamer is attached to the flag with "FIRST TENNESSEE REGIMENT INFT" painted on with red lettering.  The bottom picture shows what it most likely looked like during its use.  This flag is currently at the Tennessee State Museum.  It was retired in early 1864 because of General Johnston's order to revert the army to the St. Andrews Cross pattern.
This flag was carried for the rest of the war.  Carrying the honors of Murfreesboro, Perryville, and Shiloh.  Still retaining the cross cannons at the bottom.  The only image of the flag available is from a sketch of the regiment fighting at Kennesaw Mountain drawn by a participant.  When the regiment surrendered at Greensboro, NC it also surrendered this flag.  It was described as: "so bullet riddled and torn that it was but a few blue and red shreds."  Its whereabouts now are unknown.  Having been through the Atlanta Campaign, 1864 Tennessee Campaign, and N.C. Campaign.  There probably was not much to save.