MAY 21, 1864-4.45 a. m.
Respectfully referred to General Anderson.
The Texas brigade can be posted south of Po to support battery and connect with General Ewell, who will take position on his right.
R. E. LEE,
Battle-field, Spotsylvania Court-House, May 20, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel C. S. VENABLE,
COLONEL: My attention has been called to your note of the 13th instant to Major General C. M. Wilcox, acknowledging the receipt of certain stand of colors claimed to have been captured by parties of Lane's brigade the day previous, 12th May, and in justice to a modest but none the less gallant soldier, I beg to invite attention to the following facts and circumstances as furnishing abundant testimony that the flag of the Seventeenth Michigan, claimed to have been captured by Lieutenant J. M. Grimsley, Company K, Thirty-seventh North Carolina Troops, and accordingly accredited in your note, was in fact, beyond doubt, captured by Private Thomas W. Savage, Company I, Forty-first Virginia Infantry. Savage, than whom no man stands higher for integrity and soldierly conduct, tells me that he captured a color bearer and several prisoners, together with two of Lane's brigade, whom the Yankees had in possession; that he ordered the party to the rear under the charge of the two recaptured men of Lane's brigade, first placing guns in their hands; that he did not stop in the heat of the fight to take the colors from the Yankee color bearer, deeming it more important to pursue the fight. Captain Girardey, acting upon they division staff, met a squad of Yankees in charge of two of our men, embracing a Yankee color bearer, yet carrying his own colors. He directed the surrender of these colors to a lieutenant of ours standing near by. This was just outside the woods near the ice-house. Major Etheredge, commanding the Forty-first Virginia Infantry at the time, and Lieutenant Riddick, of Savage's company, bear testimony to the correctness of Savage's statement, as will be seen by their communications ot me herewith inclosed. There were in all but four flags captured in this flank movement of the two brigades, Lane's and Mahone's, of the 12th May, and one of these was a guidon, two stand of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania and the Seventeenth Michigan. There is no dispute about the guidon or the two stand of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania. One of these latter was captured by Lane's brigade, and in your note is accredited to Lieutenant O. A. Wiggins, North Carolina troops; the other stand, one which bears a plate of inscription as a present to the regiment, was handed by myself to Colonel W. H. Taylor. This flag was captured by litterbearer, Private Leonidas H. Dean, Company B, Twelfth Virginia Infantry, who seized a gun in the fight and captured this stand of colors, color bearer, and 8 prisoners, and delivered the whole over to me. It is clear then that the flag captured by Savage must be the same flag which Captain Girardey caused to be surrendered to a lieutenant, because there was but one flag of the fur brought out by the Yankee color bearer, ant it is equally plain that these were the