Byhalia Mississippi Reunion





The Real Flag of the Thirty-fourth Mississippi Infantry?

The flag of the 34th Mississippi is a real mistery to me.  According to the article below the flag at this reunion was given to the regiment at Corinth.  I assume this was in the spring of 1862 and again from the article it appears they were still carrying this flag at the final surrender. David Boone, author of a new book "Honor Without a Stain" on the 34th Mississippi Infantry tells me the regiment was presented with another flag in SC in 1865 and on it was "Honor Without a Stain".  This is where the title of his book comes from. There is yet a third flag in the Museum of the Confederacy at Richmond that was said to have been the 34's flag and was suppose to have been captured by the 149 NY Volunteers at Lookout Mountain. David does not believe this flag was that of the 34th. For one thing the two regiments were not on the same part of the battlefield. This flag was not returned to the Confederacy until the first part of the twentieth century. Since the flag spoken of below was in Byhalia in 1889 this was not the same flag.  David says this flag was buried with Zophar Ferrell according to an article he read circa 1907.

The following article was originally printed in the Memphis Appeal newspaper and reprinted in the Ashland Register, Ashland Mississippi Thurs. Aug. 1, 1889 with additional comments.

Reunion in Byhalia Mississippi

The Memphis Appeal in giving an account of the re-union of Byhalia, says, “The stand and booths near it were garnished with flags, the national colors blending with two old Confederate battle flags. A conspicuous feature was this pair of tattered and battle scarred flags, which were at poluts(?) honor at each side of the main stand. These colors as they were carried in procession by some 300 or 400 grizzly-bearded ex-soldiers of the Lost Cause, attracted a deal of attention, and many inquiries were made concerning them.

One of the flags alluded to was that of the Thirty-fourth Mississippi Infantry, one of the companies of which was raised in and about Byhalia. Zophis Ferrell, who carried the flag in many battles, was in attendance and he reported that it had been given the regiment at Corinth Miss. The regiment had served in the army commanded by Generals Bragg, Joseph E. Johnston and John B. Hood, and two soldiers were killed while carrying it, while two others were disabled. Capt. Walton’s company of Byhalia had formed a part of the regiment and nearly all of the men in it had been raised in the counties of North Mississippi, including Marshall, Lafayette and Tippah.

The other battle flag belonged to the Thirteenth Ky. Regiment and was made and presented to the regiment by the Misses Bowner of Perryville, Ky., and were carried by the regiment in the battles of Perryville Ky., Murfreesboro, Tenn., Chickamauga, Ga., and other battles. It was brought to the re-union by B.F. Lewis, of Lewisburg, Miss.”

The Ferrell spoken of above, is a citizen of the county, and is a gentleman in every respect, and made as good a soldier as ever marked the earth. His comrades, and there are several of the Old Thirty-fourth in this section, tell a good joke on Zoph about the flag. They say that when the army surrendered Zoph swore that he would never surrender the flag which he had carried through so many hard fought battles, and to make his word good, he concealed it under his clothing, next to his person, and brought it safely through. This was nearly a quarter of a century ago, and there have been many changes since then, yet the dear old flag is held in high esteem by all of the survivors of that regiment, and it is not because they are unfriendly to the Union, either.


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This page was last updatedDecember 21, 2005