War of the Rebellion: Serial 069 Page 0805 Chapter XLVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

ultimo, near Spotsylvania Court-House, referred to me from corps headquarters for investigation and report. I referred the papers, as will be seen, to Colonel Barry, commanding Lane's brigade, for report, and the report is herewith inclosed. I beg leave to state what little I know personally of the three flags forwarded by myself to army headquarters, accompanies by a note explaining by whom they were captured. In the afternoon of the 12th ultimo, after the action in which Lane's and Mahone's brigades were engaged was nearly over, Major Engelhard, assistant adjutant-general of the division, came up to me, I being at the battery near the barn, from the woods in which Lane's brigade had been engaged, bearing a Federal flag, the Fifty-first Pennsylvania. Not long after this, a few minutes, an officer rode along in the rear of the line of rifle-pits waving a Federal flag in view of our troops, who cheered as he passed. Lane's men in the mean time were coming out of the woods, and soon formed in line in rear of the rifle-pits near the Court-House. I rode down to the brigade and saw two Federal flags in the ranks of this brigade. The following day I directed these flags to be forwarded to me with a statement as to the manner of their capture and by whom they were captured. When the flags were received by me I forwarded them to army headquarters, accompanied by a note explaining by whom they were captured. The flags so forwarded were those of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, the Seventeenth Michigan, and a battery flag. The flag borne by the officer who rode in rear of the rifle-pits I know nothing of, neither did I know the officer; he was not of my division. Several days after the flags were forwarded by me to headquarters, and after a reference to it had been made in the Richmond papers, I met General Mahone at the church near the Court-House. He said to me that he would like to say few words to me, for he know that I had innocently been led into an error with reference to three flags forwarded by me to headquarters, and reported by me as captured by Lane's brigade. I told him that I was willing, of course, to be put right if any mistake had been made. General Mahone then went on to state and to explain that the flag of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania had been taken by a man of his brigade, and gave some details and particulars. I stated to the general that Major Engelhard had brought the flag to me, that he had received it from the gangs of the officer who had captured it. General Mahone insisted that I must be mistaken, for he had taken down a memoranda in pencil of the flag, and had sent it in out of the fight. I could not see how there could be any mistake on my part. Major Engelhard came up at this time and stated to General Mahone how he had come in possession of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania flag. I then told the general that perhaps it was the flag that the officer rode along the lines with that he had taken the memoranda of. He said no, he knew nothing of that, but it was the flag of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, while I and Major Engelhard knew that we had in our possession this Fifty-first flag when this officer rode by us carrying the flag that has been referred to above. I would regret exceedingly to have made any official statement to the commanding general that was not correct, and I took all precautions not to state anything not borne out by official statements of others. I believe now that my official note with reference to the flags is entirely true; and at the interview between General M. and myself the only point at issue was that Lane's brigade had the credit of taking the Fifty-first Pennsylvania flag. From the general's letter it appears now to be the Seventeenth Mich-