16th Tennessee Volunteer
Infantry Regiment
Battle Flags

        To help those who don't now the Battle Flags listed below by name at some date, hopefully within the next month or two, there will be posted here illustrations of all the Battle Flags mentioned below. 

What is a Battle Flag?
        They are the flag that an organized body of men follow into battle.  The use of distinctive Battle Flags was not unique to American Civil War Regiments as for centuries European Regiments had carried them, other distinctive insignia had been used from before the Romans.  The first flags carried by Regiments of American citizens was during the War of 1812.
        At the start of the Civil War Companies were raised throughout the South and then formed into Regiments.  These Regiments, and also the Companies, received flags from their local communities, many times these flags were usually presented with great ceremony.
The only flag that we can be sure was carried by the 16th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry Regiment was the 'Mountain Flag'.

The 'Mountain Flag' (1st National)

        On 'July 4. Thursday---Clear and hot.  The 16th Tenn. Regt. was presented with a most beautiful flag today by the ladies of the Mountain district.  Capt. A. L. Davis representing them and addressing the Regt.  Col. Savage received it with a few appropriate remarks.'  Another quote 'The first regimental flag of the 16th Tenn. Inf. was presented 4 July 1861 at Camp Trousdale in a ceremony attended by a part of 18 men, women and children from the Upper Cumberland.....On the 6' x 9' banner, the state seal was painted on the blue field, encircled by 11 silver stars, and inscribed on the white bar in gold were the words ‘To the Mountain Regiment, Tennessee Volunteers.  Presented by Mrs A. L. Davis, Mrs B. S. Rhea and Mrs O. F. Hunt Daughters of the Mountains July 4, 1861.
        This flag measured 72 inches by 108 inches and was most likely shot to pieces at Murfreesboro with the remnants presented to Colonel John Savage.  This flag was made by William J. Fry, Nashville, TN. (
Fry advertised his business in the local newspapers saying 'silk and satin flags and banners, gilded and painted to order').
        At least two Tennessee infantry regiments used the First National flag with the Tennessee State Seal painted in the canton.  After the Battle of Perryville (Chaplin Hills), 8 October 1862,
the Regiments in Benjamin F. Cheatam's Division, of which the Regiment was part, were allowed to put  'inverted cross cannon' on their Battle Flags, its unknown whether the Regiment ever did this.
        As well as the mentioned eleven stars there was added a twelve star this twelfth star being that of Missouri, which was about to vote on secession.

The 'Polk' pattern flag

        It will be noticed both the 'Polk' and 'Cassidy' pattern were being issued as Battle Flags at the same time to Regiments within Polk's Grand Division (Corps), it's quite likely that with the retirement of the 'Mountain Flag' either of these could have been now issued to them.
(To help understand the problems with what would be the next Battle Flag for the Regiment this information covers units that were in Cheatham’s Division, of which the 16th Tennessee were members, during the Battles of Perryville and  Murfreesboro (Stones River).  This information was kindly produced for me.
1st Tennessee famously had a 'Polk' Flag.
4th Tennessee was issued with a 'Cassidy' flag after Shiloh, but before June 1862.
8th Tennessee was issued a 1st  National Flag in October 1861, which they carried until it was captured at Murfreesboro.
9th Tennessee still had there 1st  National after Shiloh, but there is some evidence to suggest that when they were combined with the 6th Tennessee, who were issued with a 'Polk' Flag.
19th and 24th Tennessee both had 1st  National Flag, but not sure of the usage.
27th Tennessee was issued with a 'Cassidy' Flag after Shiloh, but I believe took the 'Polk' Flag when they combined with the 1st Tennessee.
At Murfreesboro, some of  Vaughn's Brigades Regiments are reported as having 'Polk' Flags.  
Units in Withers Division are also known to have 'Polk' Flags )
        Leonidas Polk, the Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana, had these flags issued to the cavalry, infantry and artillery of the 1st Grand Division (later Corps), the flags had been shipped to Polk on 30 January 1862, and were first carried at the Battle of Shiloh.      .
        The Regiment joined the Army of Mississippi (Tennessee) and was assigned to Polk's Corps, Cheatam's Division on the 23 April 1862.  The next order of these flags were made of bunting and cotton, and were smaller than the original issue and measuring 28 inches by 51 to 52 inches, they were distributed to Benjamin F. Cheatham's Division on 4 September 1862.
        It possible that this flag was carried by the Regiment as a Corps flag and was lost at Murfreesboro (Stones River), 31 December 1862-3 January 1863, as a 'Polk'  pattern flag claimed to be that of the 16th Tennessee now resides in the Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, VA.  This measures 29 inches by 52 1/2 inches and has 11 stars.  This flag was believed to have been recovered from the battlefield at Murfreesboro by Daniel W. Adams Brigade.  It was rediscovered in Virginia in April 1865 and then transferred to the US war Department in1906.  The flag had been found lying on the ground over which the Regiment had been fighting, along with three Companies of the 51st Tennessee.  (Two other Regiments, the 9th and 44th Mississippi (Chalmer's Brigade) had retired in disorder over this ground earlier so its quite possible that it could be theirs, although the 9th had a 'Cassidy').  

The 'Cassidy' style, 3rd pattern, Army of Northern Virginia flag

        With the intention of having the Army of Tennessee adopt a Battle Flag with the style of that of the Army of Northern Virginia Army Commander Gustave Toutant Beauregard placed an order with a New Orleans sail-maker Henry Cassidy on the 23 February 1862.
        This first order has no interest to us but on the 11 March 1862 an order for a further 51 flags was made for Polk's Corps. They were dispatched on the 29 March but failed to arrive before the Battle of Shiloh, 6th-7th April.   Some time about the end of May they arrived and were distributed in an haphazard fashion.
        A third order was placed on the 3rd March which arrived some time just after the second order.  These were issued as replacement flags on an 'as needed' basis and could well have been issued to the Regiment.  These measured 41 inches by 72 inches.

1st National flag

        With the retirement of the 'Mountain Flag' after the Battle of Murfreesboro it's replacement could have been the 1st National as a Battle Flag, as many other units carried it as such and this was basically the same as the original flag.  The flag measured about 36 inches by 83inches.  It was usual to put the regimental name in the white canton in black, although red was also used.  This was some times written with the Regimental number on a higher plane.

The 'Johnston' style Army of Northern Virginia flag 

        These flags would most likely have been carried from early 1864 as when  Joe Johnston again assumed command of the Army of Tennessee, December 1863, he commenced the issuance of a uniform Battle Flag to replace the half-dozen different designs in service at that time.  Early in 1864 probably during March/April the quartermaster department issued a flag similar to those used by the Army of Northern Virginia, although rectangular rather than square, it also failed to have the white border found on the ANV version of that date.
           In early 1864, while the Army was at Dalton, ' orders were received for each Regiment to put their State and Regimental number on their flags.  Thomas Head and Thompson, with the help of a sign painter, cut letters from fabric, and a young lady sewed them on.  When completed, the flag read: '16th Regiment Tennessee Volunteers.''
        The average dimensions were 36 inches by 52 inches, the Regimental designation were usually put into the top triangle, with the State in the bottom one, both in white, although there's at least one in existence with a white bar in the top triangle holding both designations in black.  Many of this pattern flag had Regimental markings on top and bottom also had the same markings on the left and right on the other side.
        Battle honours could be found in the white border that surrounded the blue cross, written in black.  Flags were found with the unit designation and the State in the top triangular canton and the rest having battle honours.  Crossed cannon are found either in the bottom or the fly triangle canton, and could be found as the center star in the cross.

The 'Johnston' style 8/16/28th Tennessee Flag

        Due to having suffered large casualties the Army reorganization of  10 December 1864  produced the consolidation together of the 8th, 16th, and 24th Tennessee Regiments into one field unitThis Regiment was Commanded by Colonel John H. Anderson of the 8th Tennessee.  With this amalgamation the new Regiment would now have a new Battle Flag due to them although its unlikely that  it was issued.

The 'Johnston' style 1st Consolidated Tennessee flag

        During the Army reorganization of  9 April 1865 the following units were incorporation into one: 1st (Field's), 6th, 8th, 9th, 16th, 27th, 28th, and 34th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, plus the 24th Tennessee Sharpshooter Battalion.  Within this new Regiment what was left of the old 16th formed Companies 'F' and 'K' of the First Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment, Commanded by Colonel Hume R. Field.  Once again a new Battle Flag was needed but would never have been ordered let alone carried as the Army was about to surrender.