UNION COLONEL ACQUIRED TEXAS COMPANY FLAG AFTER CONFEDERATE LOSS AT ARKANSAS POST
By early 1863, the Confederate States Army had constructed a large, earthwork fortification near Arkansas Post on a bluff above the Arkansas River to prevent Union Army passage to Little Rock.
Among the troops stationed at the fort was the 10th Regiment Texas Infantry. One of its companies was given the designation “Wilson Guards.” Initially manned by about 5,000 fighters, disease and a tenuous supply chain had left the garrison in a poor state.
On Jan. 4, an estimated 33,000 Union troops moved in on Arkansas Post. After three days of devastating attacks, Confederate troops began raising white flags. The defeat at Arkansas Post cost the Confederacy a quarter of its deployed forces in Arkansas. It marked the largest surrender of rebel troops west of the Mississippi River before the Confederates’ final surrender in 1865, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture.
Among the war trophies of the battle was a 10th Texas Regiment’s “Wilson Guards” flag, which fell into the hands of Colonel William Mungen of the 57th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. After the war, Mungen was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Ohio’s 5th congressional district. The flag has remained in the family since that time, at one point displayed in a family grocery store window. It’s being offered by the Mungen family at Heritage’s arms and armor, Civil War and militaria auction scheduled for Dec. 6.
“The flag was likely made by a group of Texas women and presented to the company at the time of their muster,” says David Carde, militaria expert at Heritage Auctions. “It’s not often that a we see these kinds of historical artifacts at auction that can be traced to the beginning, so we expect interest to be strong.”
This article appears in the Winter 2020-2021 edition of The Intelligent Collector magazine. Click here to subscribe to the print edition.