Part 11 (1/2)


IT is a coincidence worthy of note, and heretofore unremarked by historians, that, as in the hour of birth of the National Flag there was given to posterity the name of a great Revolutionary hero, the hour of birth of the Confederate Battle Emblem immortalized the name of a hero of the Confederacy.

At four o'clock in the afternoon of that hard-fought battle of (Bull Run), July 21, 1861, the Federals were thinning out the lines in gray. Now they were directing their efforts against the wings of Jackson and Beauregard. Jackson's solemn visage was growing more solemn; Beauregard was anxiously scanning the landscape beyond, in the hope of discovering the approach of badly needed reenforcements.

Over the hill a long line was seen advancing. The day was hot and dry and not a leaf stirred in the dust-laden air. Clouds of smoke and grime enveloped the advancing troops and obscured their colors.

General Beauregard raised his gla.s.s and surveyed them critically.


He then called an officer and instructed him to go to General Johnston and inform him that the enemy was receiving reenforcements and it might be wise for him to withdraw to another point. Still, he was not fully a.s.sured that the coming troops were Federals! The flag hung limp and motionless and could not be accurately discerned.

If these were Federals the day was surely lost. But if they were Confederates there was a fighting chance to win.

He determined to hold his position, and called out,

”What troops are those?”

No one could tell. Just then a gust of wind spread the colors. The flag was the Stars and Bars--General Early's brigade, not a moment too soon.

”We must have a more distinct flag,” announced General Beauregard vehemently, in infinite relief: ”One that we can recognize when we see it.”

In that instant was conceived the Confederate Battle Flag, used thereafter throughout the Civil strife.

After the battle, the design--St. Andrew's Cross--was submitted by General Beauregard, and, approved by General Joseph E. Johnston, was adopted by the Confederate Congress.

”Conceived on the field of battle, it lived on the field of battle, and was proudly borne on every field from to Appomattox.”

The Confederates were routed and running in disorder. General Jackson was standing immovable. General Bee rode to his side. ”They will beat us back!”

”No, Sir,” replied Jackson, ”we will give them the bayonet.”

General Bee rode back to his brigade. ”Look at Jackson,” said he, ”standing there like a stone wall. Rally behind him.” With this his brigade fell into line.

Early's troops arrived and formed. The Federals were beaten into a tumultuous retreat that never slacked until Centerville was reached.

From that day the name ”Stonewall” attached to Thomas Jonathan Jackson and was peculiarly appropriate as indicating the adamantine, unyielding character of the man.

The motto of his life was: ”A man can do what he wills to do,” and in his resolves he depended for guidance upon Divine leading. He tried always to throw a religious atmosphere about his men; and out of respect to his feelings, if for no other reason, they often refrained from evil.

His mount was a little sorrel horse, that the men affirmed was strikingly like him as it could not run except towards the enemy.

The ardent love of his troops for him made the tragedy of his death the more deplorable. Mistaking him for the enemy as he was returning from the front, in the gathering darkness at Chancellorsville, May, 1863, his own men shot him,--shot him down with victory in his grasp.