Legendary Minnesotans – The Captured Confederate Flag We Won’t Give Back
In this week's edition of Legendary Minnesotans, it's an entire Minnesota regiment that captured Virginia's battle flag at Gettysburg that is legendary...and so to, in a smaller way, are the state officials saying, "Nope...we're not giving it back, you can stop asking."
How the 1st Minnesota Infantry Regiment Captured Virginia's Confederate Battle Flag
From Wikipedia -
"At a dire moment on the afternoon of July 2, 1863, Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, commander of II Corps ordered the 1st Minnesota to charge into a brigade of roughly 1200 men of James Longstreet's corps and Richard H. Anderson's Division, which it did with roughly 250 men.
They were outnumbered by at least 5 to 1, but it was Gen. Hancock's only option to buy time for reinforcements to arrive. One survivor stated afterward that he expected the advance to result in "death or wounds to us all".
The regiment immediately obeyed the order and Gen. Hancock was amazed at the unit discipline, valor, and the tremendous casualties taken in carrying out his order. This action blunted the Confederate attack and helped preserve the Union's precarious position on Cemetery Ridge at the end of the second day of the battle."
I shared that story, so I could share the next part...
Carrying on from the heavy losses of the previous day, the remaining men of the 1st Minn. were reinforced by detached Companies F and L....They again had to charge into advancing Confederate troops with more losses...During this charge, Private Marshall Sherman of Company C captured the colors of the 28th Virginia Infantry and received the Medal of Honor for this exploit." (Wiki)
For more than 100 years, Virginia has asked for their flag back. Each time it's a no. According to the Pioneer Press, "A president demanded return of Confederate flags, Congress passed a resolution ordering return of the flags, Virginians even threatened suit to get their flag back. And the answer has been the same: No."
So, that's the old days, how 'bout in more recent times? In 1961, in 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2003 (when Virginia's governor DEMANDED the flag be returned), the answer was always, "no."
My favorite unvarnished response came from Governor Ventura, when he said, "We won... We took it. That makes it our heritage."
It's almost like folks don't know how civil wars work...you lose the war, you don't get your stuff back. Or at least you shouldn't, and I'm glad to see Minnesota's kept up with that idea for so long. Especially when one part of the nation left the United States to start their own country (so they could own people, for cryin' out loud...and don't argue, you know it's true. No lost causing here, please.)
These photos and so many more, of people and the Minnesota Historical Society's Civil War Collection can be seen here.
As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know: email@example.com
Listen to James Rabe and Jessica Williams 6a to 10a on Y-105 FM's Early Morning Show.