Object Record

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Catalog Number 00033
Object Name Flag
Description A. FLAG:
37th Arkansas (2nd Brigade, Price's Division, District of Arkansas). A Trans-Mississippian Confederate battle flag of the 37th Arkansas (2nd Brigade, Price's Division, District of Arkansas) captured at Helena, Arkansas by the 33rd Iowa Infantry Regiment. Civil War Modified second issue of the Polk (Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk) battle flag. Captured from Col. S. S. Bell unit. 1 layer. Cloth: wool, cotton. Hand sewn.

First Corps, was an army corps within the Army of Tennessee, officially created in November 1862 and continued in existence until its surrender in April 1865 in North Carolina. It was also variously known as Polk's Corps, Hardee's Corps, and Cheatham's Corps. Arkansas seceded from the Union on May 6, 1861, one month after the attack on Fort Sumter which marked the start of the Civil War. One year later the 37th Arkansas Infantry (from which this flag was taken) was mustered into service. Originally organized as the 1st Trans-Mississippi Infantry and then the 29th Arkansas Infantry, the 37th Arkansas Infantryw as accepted into the Confederate service on June 6, 1862. The 37th Arkansas was also known as Bell's Regiment, as it was commanded by Colonel Samuel S. Bell. This flag was captured by the 33rd Iowa Infantry at the Battle of Helena, Arkansas, on July 4, 1863. Designed by Leonidias Polk, commander of a Corps of the Army of the MIssissippi under Johnston, may hve used his own background as a pre-war Episcopalian Bishop to influence this most unusual Confederate battle flag design for his regiments. This initial eleven-starred flag would see much service through Shiloh and then on through 1863. It would see replacement by a later thirteen-star issue.

Attached ID card: "These flags were captured by Union soldiers of the 33rd Iowa Infantry Regiment under Lt. Col. C.H. Mackey shortly before noon July 4, 1863, on the northwestern slope of Hindman Hill near the present Arkansas Street -Park Hill Area. They were taken from the 37th Arkansas Infantry Regiment, C.S.A., when approximately 200 men with their Colonel S.S. Bell failed to receive the order to retreat and were surrounded by Union troops. The flags were take by Col. Mackey to his houst at Sigourny, Iowa, and later placed in the Iowa State Museum. They were returned to Helena June 7, 1963, for the centennial observance.
Note: the blood stains on the blue flag, possibly from wounded confederate soldier.

Ingersoll, Lurton Denham. Iowa and the Rebellion.
Logan, Guy E. Roster and Records.
Madaus, Howard Michael and Robert D. Needham. The Battle Flags of the Confederate Army of Tennessee. Milwaukee. Milwaukee Public Museum, 1976.
Stuart, Addison A. Iowa Colonels.
Object No: 33, tagged only

Accessory information located in the Notes section.
Source Mackey, Col. Cyrus G.
Received Date / /
Collection Iowa Battle Flag Project
Search Terms Civil War
Battle of Prairie Grove
Battle of Little Rock
Red River Expedition
Battle of Pleasant Hill
Camden Expedition
Battle of Jenkin's Ferry
Battle of Helena