Flags of the Texas State Library and Archives

TSLAC 306-4065, 2nd Florida Special Battalion

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Wool and cotton, 97.5 x 124 inches

More from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission:
Under the Rebel Flag: Life in Texas During the Civil War

TSLAC 306-4065
Second Florida Special Battalion

Thanks to David Glenn for sharing research that aided in the identification of this flag.

This large flag belonged to the 2nd Florida Special Battalion, which was assigned to the defense of Fort Brooke, whose guns overlooked Tampa Bay. Much of what is known about this flag is tentative. It is now thought that this flag, along with the St. John's River flag (TSLAC 306-4062), were constructed about the same time from blue cloth ordered from a mill in Madison County, Florida. The flag is inscribed on the edge with the words "Captured by Moonlight after a long chase commenced near Tampa Bay." It is conjectured that, in an effort to save the flag from capture, it had been placed on a gunboat headed for Clearwater Harbor or another nearby Confederate outpost, and that it was then captured by Union forces.

Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont took possession of the banner, and it eventually passed into the custody of the city of Wilmington, Delaware. Because the edge is also inscribed with the words, "Bill Long's Sales," it is believed that the flag eventually passed into the hands of William W. Long, a Philadelphia bar owner who exhibited a vast collection of curiosities in his "museum" in the years during and after the Civil War. His collection was auctioned by his heirs in 1943, though the exact route by which the flag made its way to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission remains unknown. It was long misidentified as a Spanish-American War era flag.

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