Civil War soldiers on both sides would go to extraordinary lengths to save their regimental and national flags from capture by the enemy. One Union officer who risked his life to save his regiment’s U.S. flag was 2nd Lieutenant Charles R. Tanner of the 1st Delaware Infantry.
At the Battle of Antietam, the 1st Delaware was brigaded with the 4th New York and 5th Maryland regiments in Brigadier General Max Weber’s brigade of Brigadier General William H. French’s division of the Union 2nd Corps. French marched his division south across the William Roulette farm and toward a sunken road where Major General D.H. Hill’s Division was in a strong defensive position. As the Federals emerged from a cornfield and crested a ridge, they were out in the open and exposed to Confederate fire. The 1st Delaware’s colonel ordered a charge upon the sunken road (which would later be called Bloody Lane), and scores were cut down by the musket fire from the Alabama regiments of Brigadier General Robert E. Rodes’ Brigade. Among the casualties was the flag bearer of the 1st Delaware’s national flag, and the flag itself was on the ground where the flag bearer had been killed.
The 1st Delaware pulled back to the cornfield and took cover. The men saw the colors lying on the ground between the lines, and were determined to get them back. Here’s Lt. Tanner’s account of how he got them back: Continue reading “Lt. Charles R. Tanner of the 1st Delaware Infantry Saves the Flag at Antietam” »
Philanthropist David Rubenstein has donated $12.35 million for the repair and refurbishing of Arlington House, the home of General Robert E. Lee and his family from 1831-61. The house in Arlington, Virginia, is now the Robert E. Lee Memorial and part of the National Park Service. The money will renovate and repair the building and grounds, fix damage from the 2011 Virginia earthquake, and restore each room in the house to the way it appeared in 1860. The National Park Service is strapped for cash these days, so Mr. Rubenstein’s gift is most welcome. He also contributed $7.5 million to help fix the Washington Monument after it was damaged in that 2011 earthquake.
Robert E. Lee was living at the house when he resigned his U.S. Army commission on April 20th, 1861. He left for Richmond the same day, but his wife Mary stayed until May 15th. She turned the house over to the Lee’s slaves, who were to take care of the property while the Lees were gone. With its location on high ground overlooking Washington DC, the Union Army crossed the Potomac on May 24th, one day after Virginia voted to secede from the Union, and occupied the area around the house. After the Battle of Bull Run, the house itself was occupied and used as a military headquarters and officers’ residence.