Historic Flags of the Texas State Library and Archives

TSLAC 306-4062 First Florida Special Battalion

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Wool and cotton,
81 x 111.5 inches


1980 Conservation report (PDF)1980 Conservator's report - Panhandle Plains Historical Museum

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Under the Rebel Flag: Life in Texas During the Civil War

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TSLAC 306-4062
Flag Captured Near the St. Johns River, Florida

Thanks to Bruce Graetz, Senior Curator, Museum of Florida History, Tallahassee, for sharing research and information that made the identification of this flag possible.

The flag’s inscription: "Captured near St. Johns River" written on the canvas sleeve, has led to two differing theories as to the possible history of this flag. The St. Johns River, located in northeast Florida, was both a blockade-running area and the site of Confederate artillery batteries. Because of its general similarity to the Tampa Bay flag (TSLAC 306-4065), which has a recorded history indicating capture from a Southern vessel, a similar history for this flag as one captured from a blockade-running ship near the St. Johns River would appear likely. The crescent moon is sometimes associated with South Carolina, so the flag might have come from a vessel with ties to that state. 

An alternative, but less likely, possibility is that it could be the Confederate flag reported by Union naval forces as seized when the Confederates evacuated their heavy artillery battery at St. John’s Bluff on October 3, 1862. The battery, located on the bank of the St. Johns River, had been defended by troops of the 1st Florida Special Battalion. The Union officer who found the flag in the battery presented it to Rear Admiral Samuel Francis DuPont as a trophy. The history of the St. Johns River flag is uncertain and the exact route by which it made its way to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission remains unknown.

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Page last modified: April 7, 2016