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In Their Own Words

August 02, 1864

Disagreement over Captured Flag

For two Union regiments involved in the battle for Atlanta, the issue was not Confederate strategy but Confederate flags, as Lt. Col. Fredrick Winkler of the 26th Wisconsin Infantry wrote to his wife:

“We are still in the same position; our progress seems to be slow. Forces are still moving from our left to our right. We have reports here of another invasion from the north by a large force of rebels; it is also said that Grant has retired from before Petersburg. The news from the east generally is not a bit encouraging; the whole of that huge struggle of the Army of the Potomac, attended as it has been by terrible loss, seems to have been for naught. Still it will not do to reason upon matters now, let us hope for the best; this very invasion may be the best thing that could happen for us. Still it will create such consternation in the north; the north is not prepared for defense. I have to go to a session of that board again this afternoon. The question before that board is a rebel flag; two regiments claim it as a trophy by right of capture. A good deal of testimony has been adduced, and each regiment proves that it captured a flag conclusively, yet there is but one. It is a very disagreeable question to decide. There is, of course, a great deal of feeling about it in both regiments.”

Source: Civil War Letters of Major Fredrick C. Winkler, in 26th Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers Home Page