April 8th Autographs, Manuscripts, Books & Photography
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/8/2021

“We would then on the field of battle know our friends from our Enemies.” 

An important period letter sent by confederate general PGT Beauregard to General Joseph E Johnson from Grigsby house his headquarters in Manassas on September 5, 1861.

The letter addresses is the problem and confusion on the battlefield because of the similarities of various flags confronted with the problem during the first battle of Manassas.At the First Battle of Manassas, near Manassas, Virginia, the similarity between the "Stars and Bars" and the "Stars and Stripes" caused confusion and military problems. Regiments carried flags to help commanders observe and assess battles in the warfare of the era. At a distance, the two national flags were hard to tell apart. Also, Confederate regiments carried many other flags, which added to the possibility of confusion.

After the battle, General P. G. T. Beauregard wrote that he was "resolved then to have [our flag] changed if possible, or to adopt for my command a 'Battle flag', which would be entirely different from any State or Federal flag". He turned to his aide, who happened to be William Porcher Miles, the former chairman of the Confederate Congress's Committee on the Flag and Seal. Miles described his rejected national flag design to Beauregard. Miles also told the Committee on the Flag and Seal about the general's complaints and request that the national flag be changed.

The committee rejected the idea by a four-to-one vote, after which Beauregard proposed the idea of having two flags. He described the idea in a letter to his commanding General Joseph E. Johnston:

This very letter which is the foundation of the final flag design is known and this is a period copy letter most likely retained by one involved in the final decision may be even Beauregard himself.

"I wrote to [Miles] that we should have 'two' flags – a 'peace' or parade flag, and a 'war' flag to be used only on the field of battle – but congress having adjourned no action will be taken on the matter – How would it do us to address the War Dept. on the subject of Regimental or badge flags made of red with two blue bars crossing each other diagonally on which shall be introduced the stars, ... We would then on the field of battle know our friends from our Enemies."

Beauregard proposes a design for a war flag to be used only on the field of battle… Made of red and two blue bars crossing each other diagonally on which shall be introduced to stars the edge of the flag to trimmed all around with white yellow or gold fringe we would then know the field of battle or friends or enemies this proposal was excepted became the battle flag of armies of Northern Virginia and spread through the confederacy it was also known as Beauregard’s battle flag

Below you will find the letter in full. 

Manassas  September 5, 1861

General Joseph E Johnston

Centerville Virginia 

Dear General,

Colonel miles informs me that the Flag Committee voted down any change of our flag by a vote of 4 to 1 -he being alone in favor of it. I wrote to him then to propose that we would have two flags- a peace or parade flag and a war flag, to be used only on the field of battle. The Congress having adjourned no action will be taken on this matter.

How would it do for us to address the War Department on the subject for a supply of regimental war or badge flags made of red with two blue bars crossing each other diagonally on which shall be introduced the stars, The edge of the flag to be trimmed all around with white yellow or gold fringe.

We would then on the field of battle know our friends from our enemies.

Very truly yours,

P.G.T. Beauregard General.  

Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard was a Confederate general officer who started the American Civil War by leading the attack on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. Today, he is commonly referred to as P. G. T. Beauregard, but he rarely used his first name as an adult. He signed correspondence as G. T. Beauregard. With One of a Kind Collectibles LOA

Incredible and Extremely important Period letter from  P. G. T. Beauregard designing the Confederate Flag! Incredible and Extremely important Period letter from  P. G. T. Beauregard designing the Confederate Flag!
Incredible and Extremely important Period letter from P. G. T. Beauregard designing the Confederate Flag!
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Minimum Bid: $100.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $9,750.00
Number Bids: 22
Auction closed on Thursday, April 8, 2021.

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