Historic Flags of the Texas State Library and Archives
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Silk, 55 X 78 inches
More Online Exhibits:
Under the Rebel Flag: Life in Texas During the Civil War
Fifth Texas Infantry Regiment
This flag was created for the 5th Texas Infantry Regiment in Richmond, Virginia, shortly after the unit was activated from 10 companies of men who had traveled east to join the conflict. It is based upon the design of the Confederate national flag (known as the Stars and Bars), but modified to feature the Lone Star of Texas.
The 5th Texas Infantry Regiment became part of Hood’s Texas Brigade, named for its commander, General John Bell Hood. In the summer of 1862, Hood’s Brigade played a critical role in defending Richmond in a series of engagements known as the Peninsula Campaign or the Seven Days Battle. This flag was badly damaged during the campaign, and was put into storage in Richmond at a warehouse known as the “Texas Depot.” However, the regiment had become deeply attached to the flag, and when permission was refused to bring it out of storage, several officers simply swiped it.
Hard fighting at Second Manassas (Bull Run) in August 1862 earned the regiment the nickname “Bloody Fifth,” and several color-bearers were killed carrying this flag. A month later at Antietam, the unit suffered a casualty rate of 49% during the horrific fighting in “the cornfield.” Shortly after the battle, this flag was sent back to Texas for display at the State Capitol in Austin. It passed into the custody of a regiment veteran after the war. By 1910 the flag was in the custody of the Hood’s Texas Brigade Association, a veteran’s group, and by 1920 was in the custody of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.