Click image for larger view
Cotton, 31 x 37.5 inches
This is the finest Hardee pattern battle flag still in existence (see TSLAC 306-4035 for another example). Like the 6th Infantry and 15th Texas Cavalry (dismounted), the 17th and 18th Texas Cavalry (dismounted) were allowed to retain this flag even after the adoption of the well-known Confederate battle flag, as a mark of respect. The units were organized in East Texas in early 1862 and deployed to Arkansas in summer 1862. On January 11, 1863, they were taken prisoner at Arkansas Post and held for three months in prison camps in Illinois. After being exchanged, the 17th and 18th were consolidated along with two other units as Smith’s Brigade, under the command of Brigadier General Preston Smith, and placed in Cleburne’s division.
They fought with distinction at Chickamauga and suffered over 200 casualties. Following Smith’s death in battle, the units became part of the command of Hiram Granbury and shared the credit for saving the Army of Tennessee from destruction at Chattanooga. In November of 1863, the 17th and 18th Texas received this flannel Hardee flag inscribed with the battle honors of the previous campaigns: "Arkansas Post," "Chickamauga," "Tunnel Hill," and "Ringgold Gap." On July 22, 1864 at the Battle of Atlanta, the 17th and 18th Texas were cut off by Federal troops of the 15th Michigan Regiment under the command of General William T. Clark. A large number of men were taken prisoner, and the flag was captured. In 1914, the flag was returned to the state of Texas by the widow of General Clark.
1980 Conservator's report - Panhandle Plains Historical Museum
1999 Conservator's report - Textile Preservation Associates
1914 correspondence on flag's accession by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission
from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission: