Historian hunts for missing Confederate flags - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Historian hunts for missing Confederate flags

CINCINNATI (AP) - Two Confederate battle flags captured by northern soldiers during the Civil War are missing, and Greg Briggs wants them back.

Briggs, a historian with the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville, is on the hunt for the flags, which records show were once displayed in Cincinnati.

"Maybe somebody will come forward and say, 'yes, I have that flag in a box in my basement," Briggs said. "I know it's a pretty remote possibility. But it's worth a shot. Those flags belong in Tennessee."

Confederate battle flags often were taken as trophies by Union troops and put on public display in northern cities. After the war, many flags were returned to the former Confederate states as a gesture of good will.

But it's unclear what happened to the missing flags from Tennessee, both of which were captured in 1862.

One of the flags - which belonged to the Gillespie Guards, a company of the 19th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry - was taken by men of the 9th Ohio Infantry at the battle of Mill Springs, Ky.

The 9th Ohio was made up entirely of German-Americans from Cincinnati, all of them members of the Turner Society, a German organization dedicated to physical fitness and education. In his research, Briggs found a Louisville Journal story in 1862 that said the 9th Ohio sent the captured flag to the Turner Society in Cincinnati.

The society's building was torn down in the mid-1950s. The second missing flag belonged to a Tennessee unit called Crew's Battalion. The flag was captured by Union sailors on the Tennessee River.

The Union steamboat captain, John Duble, lived in Cincinnati and vowed to give it a newspaper, The Cincinnati Commercial. Dan Reigle, a member of the Cincinnati Civil War Round Table who has been assisting Briggs in his search, said no one has found any records that show the flag stayed in the possession of the newspaper or was returned to Duble.

"If we could find that there are some descendants of John Duble still around, maybe we could get a lead on what happened to the flag," Reigle said. "But it is a real long shot. And, the fact is, that a lot of Civil war artifacts seem to grow legs and walk away. In other words, people take them."

 (Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Powered by Frankly