Sunday, April 14, 2013

Trans-Mississippi Union Flags

Recently, I resurveyed the topic of Confederate trans-Mississippi battle flags, and now it’s time for a look at Union flags. As mentioned in my earlier posting, there are a handful of books devoted to Confederate trans-Mississippi battle flags, but I’m not aware of a single book that concentrates on Union flags of the trans-Mississippi. If there is such an item, then please let me know. There are some odd patterns relating to historical writings about the trans-Mississippi; for example, it seems to me that the Union perspective is slighted in regards to several topics. Besides the lack of works about Union flags, there are several campaigns that are traditionally studied from the Confederate point of view. These include the New Mexico campaign, the Red River campaign, and Price’s Missouri Raid. Hopefully, this imbalance will eventually be redressed.

Now, back to the main topic of the day! There are four websites that feature trans-Mississippi Union battle flags. The Kansas Historical Society features the Keep the Flag to the Front online exhibit, a multi-part series that has photographs of several significant Kansas battle flags. Missouri’s flags are highlighted by the Missouri State Museum—this website, of course, has both Union and Confederate banners. The State Historical Society of Iowa is to be commended for their well-organized Honor the Colors: Iowa’s Civil War Battle Flags website. Iowa troops played a prominent role in the trans-Mississippi and western theaters, and many of their flags survived the conflict. The most recent addition is The Battle Flags of Minnesota, a website of the Minnesota Historical Society. Almost all of Minnesota’s soldiers served either in the trans-Mississippi or the western theater, and the website has an extensive collection of photographs of their surviving banners. 

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