COMING IN MAY 2020
FINEST & MOST HISTORIC CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG EVER TO BE OFFERED AT AUCTION & THE MOST IMPORTANT CONFEDERATE TEXAS FLAG KNOWN TO EXIST. UNQUESTIONABLY A TRUE TEXAS HISTORICAL TREASURE.
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AN EXTRAORDINARY & HISTORIC TEXAS HISTORICAL TREASURE TO BE SOLD AT PUBLIC AUCTION BEING THE FINEST AND PERHAPS MOST HISTORIC CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG EVER OFFERED AT PUBLIC AUCTION AND UNQUESTIONABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT CONFEDERATE TEXAS BATTLE FLAG KNOWN TO EXIST.
On April 17th, 18th, & 19th, 2020, the Poulin Firearms & Militaria Auctioneers in Fairfield, Maine will sell what is unquestionably the finest and one of the most historic Confederate battle flags ever offered at public auction and certainly the most important Confederate Texas battle flag known to exist anywhere. This extraordinary and beautiful battle flag belonged to the 7th Texas Infantry and was captured at Franklin, Tennessee on November 30th, 1864.
The 7th Texas Regiment was a renowned unit which fought for the Confederacy during the war. On October 2nd, 1861 at Marshall, Texas, nine infantry companies were organized into a regiment. The force behind this organization was John Gregg, District Judge from Fairfield, Texas. Gregg received a Colonel’s commission and the authority to raise an infantry regiment. The regiment was sent by train to Shreveport and marched to Memphis, Tennessee and in November of 1861 was in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment was Jeremiah M. Clough, who was previously a District Attorney with Harrison County. The Major of the unit was Hiram Bronson Granbury formally a member of the renowned Texas Rangers and he also served as Chief Justice of McLennan County. In February of 1862, the unit arrived at Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River. After two days of vicious fighting, Fort Donelson was surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant and the surviving members of the 7th Texas Unit (with the exception of those men who were able to escape and some of whom later served in Terry’s Texas Rangers in the 9th Texas Infantry). All of the 7th Texas Unit that was captured went to a Northern prison until September of 1862 when they were exchanged at Vicksburg, Mississippi. Col. Gregg was promoted to Brigadier General in August of 1862 and Major Granbury was promoted to Colonel. By February of 1863, it had acquired enough troops to regain its regimental status and was placed in Brigadier General Gregg’s aid. In May 1863, they were sent to Raymond, Mississippi where the 7th Texas were engaged in a horrendous battle which resulted in a loss over 50% of men. The 7th together with the other units of Gregg’s brigade fought valiantly and conspicuously and after the battle a Federal Commander stated he was convinced that he had been attacked by an entire division rather than a brigade. In 1863, the brigade was sent to Jackson, Mississippi, once again seeing much fighting and action. In mid-September of 1863, they were involved in the great battle of Chickamauga where they once again lost a number of their men. The 7th Texas conspicuously participated in the final charge which drove the Union army from the field and into siege at Chattanooga. After Chickamauga, the 7th Texas was placed in the brigade of James A. Smith of Major General Patrick R. Cleburne’s division. Here the 7th Texas would remain until the end of the war. On November 25th & 26th, 1863, they participated in the Battle of Missionary Ridge and the 7th Texas helped to defend the Confederate right. General Smith and his second in command were both wounded which thus elevated Col. Granbury to Brigade Commander. General Braxton Bragg’s center and left collapsed and his army retreated. Cleburne’s men, including the 7th Texas, occupied the post of honor that being the rear guard. On November 27th, 1863, Cleburne and his unit received additional glory at the Battle of Ringgold Gap for their incredible action in the campaign. Cleburne’s division won the thanks of the Confederate Congress and on February of 1864, Colonel Granbury was promoted to Brigadier General and command of the brigade. By May of 1864, the Army of Tennessee opposed Sherman’s advance on Atlanta and fought for over 100 days. Once again, the 7th Texas gained new glory at places like Pickett’s Mill, Kennesaw Mountain, Atlanta, Jonesboro, and LoveJoys Station. During this campaign, the 7th Texas once again lost a number of men. On November 30th, 1864 (the date the flag was captured by Union forces), the 7th Texas fought heroically in Franklin, Tennessee. In one instance, charging without the benefit of artillery against entrenched Federal positions. During this desperate battle, a great number of the 7th Texas were killed, wounded or captured and Brigadier General Granbury and Major Cleburne were among the killed. The Commander of the 7th Texas, John William Brown, was also captured and at the end of the day, Captain Edward Thomas Broughton of the 7th Texas commanded the brigade. The Confederates pursued the Federal Army to the environs of Nashville and on December 15th & 16th, 1864, two days of battle ensued. The 7th Texas and the rest of the brigade fought well but were eventually driven back from the field. On April 26th, 1865, the regiment accompanied the Army of Tennessee into the Carolina’s where they surrendered to Major William Tecumseh Sherman.
After the war, numerous men for the 7th Texas distinguished themselves as business and civic leaders, particularly William L. Moody and K.M. Van Zandt. The people of Texas memorialized John Gregg as Gregg County in East Texas named in his honor. Granbury in Hood County is named in honor of General Hiram B. Granbury.
The 7th Texas was truly a historic and distinguished regiment in the Texas Confederate Army. The flag of the 7th Texas, which will be sold at public auction, is one of the finest Confederate flags currently in private hands and possibly the finest ever offered at public auction. One of the most desirable attributes of a historic flag is its graphic design and condition and here the 7th Texas flag is exemplary. Its brilliant red background with huge blue cross interposed with beautiful sewn through stars, is ornately embellished with numerous battle honors. There are only a handful of Confederate Battle Flags today in private hands with battle honors but this is the only Texas Confederate Battle Flag left in private hands having battle honors. This example is in incredible condition and the numerous battle honors on the flag include Chickamauga, Ringgold Gap, Fort Donelson, Raymond, and Tunnel Hill. In addition, it features the “Crossed Cannons” which was earned during the Battle of Chickamauga, when Gregg’s Brigade helped capture a battery of Union artillery.
The 7th Texas flag shows three styles of battle honors. One artist did the unit designation (on both sides) and the “Fort Donelson” battle honor. Another did “Ramond” (sic) and “Chickamauga”. Still another painted the cross cannon honors, awarded to the regiment for capturing Federal guns at Chickamauga where Gregg’s Brigade shattered he Federal center. The honors for “Tunnel Hill” and “Ringgold Gap” are the most interesting however. Done in white paint they are the same style of honors painted on Hardee/Cleburne battle flag of the 17th & 18th Texas Cavalry (Dismounted) that was captured in the Battle of Atlanta in July 1864. This suggests that the same artist painted the honors on these two flags. Other flags of Cleburne’s Division were decorated by different artists in different styles.
The flag is truly exemplary but the history of the flag itself is also exemplary. There was only one other flag like this made and known to exist, the other one however does not have the rare and fabulous battle honors found on the flag of the 7th. The second flag was the flag of the 50th Tennessee, which now resides in the State Museum of Tennessee. The 50th Tennessee flag however only exists in fragments and as stated earlier, has no battle honors. The 7th Texas flag is truly distinguished in both graphic design, condition, and replete with these extraordinary battle honors. The flag was originally acquired by the regiment sometime prior to May 10th, 1863 and Major K.M. Van Zandt of the 7th Texas in a letter to his wife described the acquisition of the flag that they acquired before the Vicksburg and Chickamauga campaigns, which the 7th Texas was very much involved in.
The flag was lost to Union Forces on November 30th, 1864 in a horrific battle. At the time, the flag was carried by Ira B. Saddler of Company A, 7th Texas Infantry, CSA. Saddler was appointed First Lieutenant and Ensign of the Regiment by Secretary of War on March 13th, 1864. He was recommended by Captain Collet, who was commanding the 7th Texas on April 7th, 1864 and was referenced by Captain Collet as “having engaged in many battles and always distinguished himself with coolness and bravery”. This recommendation was forwarded by Brigadier General Granbury, also in which he said, “He is intelligent. Brave, and entirely devoted to the cause.” All of this was forwarded to General P.R. Cleburne, Lieutenant General Hardee, and General J.E. Johnston. Saddler was twice wounded while carrying the flag. He carried the flag with honor for 7 months. In Atlanta, during a fierce battle, he was wounded in the thumb and eventually lost his thumb. After recuperating, later on November 30th, 1864, he was severely wounded and at that time, the flag was captured. The flag has various blood stains on it, some of which are likely from Saddler’s wound.
Saddler did not live long after the war but distinguished himself both during the war and after. In 1870, he was in the Waco, Texas census and was elected to the Texas House of Representations of the 14th Legislative Session in 1874-1875 representing the 19th District (which included Coryell, McLennan, Brown, Bosque, Hamilton, Coleman, Reynolds, and Comanche counties). By 1880, he resided in Brownwood with his wife, Rebecca, and their children, Lila, Edgar, and Delta, where he was practicing law. Saddler, who was born June 20th, 1844, finally died in January of 1881 before he reached his 40th birthday.
The capture of the flag itself was also highly noteworthy. Major Arthur McArthur, who was the father of the famous Douglas McArthur of World War II and Korean War fame, was badly wounded while trying to capture this flag. In a biography of regiment by William J. K. Beaudot, it explicitly describes Major McArthur’s heroic charge. Beaudot describes as follows, “I saw the Colonel (Major Arthur McArthur) sabering his way towards the leading Confederate flag. His horse was shot under him, a bullet ripped through his right shoulder, but on foot, he fought his way forward trying to bring down those “stars and bars”.” Capt. Ed Parsons recalled, “A Confederate Major now had the flag and shot the Colonel in the breast. I thought he was done for but he staggered up and drove his sword through his adversary’s body and even as the Confederate fell, he shot the Colonel through the knee.” The battle took place on the grounds of the Carter House and included desperate hand to hand fighting, the Confederates almost enjoyed a break out chance at victory. McArthur, now grievously wounded, understandably at that moment did not capture the flag however Charles Hartung of the 24th Wisconsin must have picked up the flag.
Captain Hartung was with the 24th Wisconsin Infantry and he had come from Germany as a young man, worked with his father in his father’s shoe shop and learned the trade. He followed this occupation up until 1860 when he enlisted July 23rd, 1861, serving the entire war. He was wounded in 1862 at the Battle of Williamsburg and was honorably discharged in 1865 at Nashville, Tennessee. He resided in Green Bay where he established himself in business, first with a grocery store and later going into the hardware business. This flag was publically displayed for many years in his hardware store. He continued in the hardware business for 37 ½ years and was distinguished as one of the oldest merchants living in the city. He was Deputy Collector of the United States for 3 ½ years and did constructive work as Mayor of Green Bay. For 7 years, he was Alderman for the Second Ward and did valuable and important work in this capacity, as he did in all aspects of his public life. Twenty years after the expiration of his last term as Alderman, he was again elected by the City Council and served 8 years with conspicuous success.
The flag’s provenance is quite well documented. In May 1959, one of the most famous gun dealers in Texas history, Leon “Red” Jackson of Dallas, Texas, acquired the flag. A copy of his letter to the purchaser of the flag (who was Ed Startzman), states that Jackson bought the 7th Texas Flag from Donald Westover of Appleton, Wisconsin. Westover had purchased the flag in an estate auction for Captain Hartung’s daughter. Both of Hartung’s daughters never married and the daughter in question had died in 1948 when Westover purchased the flag. Westover apparently knew the flag was in Ms. Hartung’s possession and later learned the flag had been on display at her father’s hardware store for many years in Green Bay. The flag apparently remained in the Startzman family’s possession until sometime after his death when it was sold again a few years ago.
This is a truly unique and rare opportunity to acquire an extraordinary historic treasure. The flag is not only an important historic artifact to the history of the United States but is even more important as a Texas historic object. It has never before been offered in public auction and it represents the only chance one would ever have to acquire a Civil War object of this stature and importance.
A beautiful, highly detailed, full-color auction catalog will be prepared for this sale and includes superb photography of the flag, as well as, a detailed description of the piece. The Poulin Auction Company, one of the leading Firearms auction houses in North America and known throughout the world, will be offering an expansive assortment of rare firearms and military objects but most importantly will be the offering of Confederate items. This flag is one of the most notable of all the items in the auction and will be accompanied by what is considered to be the finest offering of Confederate uniforms ever offered at auction together with numerous rare Confederate firearms. Most notable is an extraordinarily rare Confederate Cofer Cartridge Pistol, the finest one of only two known. Also included in this sale is the largest, most comprehensive and finest collection of slave hire badges ever assembled or offered at public auction. The sale will include firearms from Pre-Revolutionary War times up through Modern times, as well as, magnificent sporting arms, rare Colt pistols (including an important and highly desirable Colt Walker used in the Mexican War), important Winchesters (including the rare 1 of 1,000 Winchester rifle), and much, much more. Catalogs can be acquired by contacting Poulin Auction Company. It is also important to note that the entire catalog, replete with photographs, can be found online at the Poulin Auction Company website:
Poulin Firearms & Militaria Auctioneers
199 Skowhegan Road
Fairfield, Maine 04937
The Poulin Firearms & Militaria Auctioneers auction April 17th, 18th & 19th, 2020 will include entire collections and selected items from collections all over North America.