Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/271

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Return of a Confederate Flag to its Original Owner. 265

Federal troops. You will remember that Spanish Fort was captured April 2d, Fort Blakely taken by charge April gth, and Mobile occu- pied by the Union forces April i2th, and that this old, tattered, bullet-pierced and torn banner floated over your headquarters during all those days, weeks, and months at the close of the great rebel- lion, and that it really waved over the last great battle-field of the Southern Confederacy.

I was informed that this flag was made and presented to you as the Confederate general in command of the Department of Alabama by the patriotic ladies of Mobile, to take the place of a former larger one that had been totally destroyed by a shell ; certainly the scanti- ness of material, as well as its home-made appearance, would indi- cate that such was the case, which, I presume, will be verified by your recollection.

Accept this conquered flag, and with it the friendly hand of one who wore the blue, and let it be a token of that amity which should possess the hearts of all good citizens, and bind the North and South together in a strong and lasting union, under the loved banner of our common country.

I was on the other side and served with the Union forces at the places mentioned, taking part in the closing victories and entering the city at its surrender. I have kept the flag all these years, and now turn it over to you with feelings of peace and good will and with such thronging memories as corne only to those who partici- pated in the terrible struggle of those " days of darkness and glory." Believe me, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

L. W. COLBY.

WASHINGTON CITY, December 10, 1891. DEAR GENERAL COLBY:

I have received with very great pleasure my old flag, the Con- federate flag, which as you say, floated over the last great battlefield of the war between the States.

Your kindly letter which accompanied it has given me more pleasure, if possible, than your restoration of the flag.

Your generous act and manly words give strong evidence of the high character of the men who fought for the Union, and may be an example to those who, having no heart for manly warfare, can only revile and hate us who fought for our Confederate homes.