A Terry Texas Ranger; 1861-1865; The Life Record of H. W. Graber; Sixty-two Years in Texas
page 202-203 & 401-409
It is hardly necessary to say that that finding the enemy’s Calvary in out rear for a great many miles, resulting on a general stampede, everybody trying to escape out of it. In recording this engagement I regret to have to mention the loss of our beautiful flag which, encased in a rubber cover, slipped off its staff and was found by Major Weiler, commanding a battalion of the Seventeenth Mounted Indiana Infantry, and after many years, returned to us at Dallas, Texas, by Governor Mount and staff, instructed to do so by joint resolution of the Indiana Legislature, in response to a memorial, drawn up and sent by me.
page 401-423 (401-409 below)
The Terry Rangers' Flag.
One most remarkable incident I must not fail to add: As stated heretofore, the Terry Rangers of which I was a member, lost a beautiful flag sent us by a couple of young ladies of Nashville, made of their dresses, which after the first engagement wherein it was displayed, near Rome, Georgia, we lost in a stampede and it was found by a scout of the enemy the next day. This flag had worked in beautiful silk letters, the name of Terry's Texas Rangers, beside some Latin, which I do not remember. After the war, on a number of public occasions, such as the several National Expositions in Chicago and Philadelphia, the Grand Army, who had charge of such matters, exhibited this flag, with a tag in bold letters, "Captured from Terry's Texas Rangers in an engagement near Rome, Georgia, by the Seventeenth Indiana Mounted Infantry."
Such a public exhibition of our misfortune was galling to the members of the regiment and when Governor Hendricks, the first Democratic Governor of Indiana, was installed, we made a request through our Governor Hubbard for the return of the flag. Governor Hendricks very properly referred the request to the State Librarian of Indiana, who happened to be a vindictive, howling Republican and in answer wrote Governor Hubbard a very insulting letter, refusing to return the flag. The matter then was dropped.
About thirty-four years after the close of the war, a business friend, Mr. William Burr of Dallas, who was an ex-Federal soldier, came to my office one day, and asked me if I ever drank any cider ? I told him I did when I could get good cider. He told me he had a friend in an old shack near the Windsor Hotel, who was making cider, and invited me to go around and have a glass of cider with him. To this I consented. He there introduced me to a Major Weiler, and in conversation with him, I found that he belonged to Wilder 's Brigade, who were with Sherman's army in Georgia. While we were sipping cider Burr remarked, "Well, this is pretty good; two Yanks and one Johnny sipping cider together."
Major Weiler then asked what command I belonged to ? I told him I belonged to the Eighth Texas Cavalry, He said, "Terry's Texas Rangers?" I told him, "Yes," when he said, "I am mighty glad to meet you ; I have been trying to find somebody belonging to your command ever since I've been in Dallas. I am the man that found your flag.' ' Of course, I was much gratified at meeting him and told him about our efforts to have the flag returned and the result at the hands of the State Librarian. "Now, Major, this flag is yours; you found it and as you state you want to return it, you make a demand on Governor Mount of Indiana, claiming the flag as yours and return it to our regiment.' ' He said that it had been the ambition of his life to do this and in accordance therewith indited a letter to Governor Mount, requesting the return of the flag to him, for the purpose, he stated, to return it to the Rangers.
He furthermore stated that he was well acquainted with Governor Mount, as the Governor was a private in his command, of which he was a major. Verily, strange are the vicissitudes of life ! Governor Mount's major was now making cider at five cents a glass.
In due time Major Weiler received an answer to his request from the Governor's Private Secretary, stating that the Governor had no authority to return the flag, which could only be done through a joint resolution of the Legislature of Indiana. We then both concluded that we might as well give it up ; we hardly thought that a unanimous vote could be had on such a proposition by a lot of politicians.
I then requested the major to furnish me a written statement, setting forth the circumstances under which he came into possession of the flag and especially that the flag was not captured in battle, but was picked up in the road the next day after our engagement, encased in a rubber pocket, and he did not examine it until he returned from a scout and rejoined his main command, being much surprised that the package found contained the Terry Texas Rangers' flag, which was forwarded to the State authorities at Indianapolis, Indiana.
In about a month the Terry Rangers had their annual reunion at Austin, Texas, where I had read the statement of Major Weiler, which, of course, was a matter of surprise and deep interest. A resolution by a comrade was offered to appoint a committee, with myself as chairman, to memorialize the Indiana Legislature, requesting the return of the flag, I being the only member of the committee present, the balance not being in attendance at the reunion. On my return home I wrote to each member of the committee, requesting them to draw up a memorial and forward to me, to which I received no response. I then drew up the memorial myself and attached a letter I received from a Colonel Wylie in Dallas, who was a gallant soldier and commanded an Iowa regiment during the war.
I next forwarded this memorial to the Richmond City Mill Works of Richmond, Indiana, a concern I was doing business with, requesting that they turn it over to their Representative in the Legislature, which they promptly did and in due time I received a letter from Senator Binkley, stating that he would take pleasure in introducing it and that I would hear from him in due time.
To my great surprise, in about thirty days I received a printed copy of a joint resolution of the Legislature of the State of Indiana, carried unanimously, instructing Governor Mount to return the flag to the Terry's Texas Rangers in person and appropriating two hundred and fifty dollars to pay the expense of his trip to Texas. The complete resolution follows:
House Concurrent Resolution No. 6, Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 9
Preamble and Concurrent Resolution in relation to the return to the association of the survivors of Terry's Texas Rangers of their battle flag, captured from them during the late war of rebellion by the 17th Regiment of Indiana Infantry (mounted) Volunteers, appointing a commission to discharge said duty, and ordering an appropriation to pay the expenses thereof.
Whereas, On October 13, 1864, during the War of the Rebellion, the flag of the Texas Rangers at a battle near Coosaville, Alabama, was captured by the 17th Regiment of Indiana Infantry (mounted) Volunteers, in command of Major J. J. Weiler, and then belonging to General J. T. Wilder 's Brigade, which brigade at the time was in command of General A. 0. Miller, and subsequently, by the proper authorities, was deposited in the archives of the State of Indiana, and now reposes in the custody of the State Geologist, and to which is attached the following inscription:
"Battle flag of the Texas Rangers, captured from the 8th Texas Cavalry near Galesville, Alabama bama, October 13, 1864, by two companies of the 17th Indiana Infantry, commanded by Major J. J. Weiler, of Company E, Wilder 's Brigade."
And, Whereas, H. W. Graber, George W. Littlefield, S. P. Christian, W. D. Cleveland and R. Y. King, all of the State of Texas, as a committee duly appointed by and representing the Association of Survivors of Terry's Texas Rangers, by their petition hereunto attached, have asked the Legislature of the State of Indiana to kindly return to that association
said battle flag, that it may be kept and treasured by them, and in said memorial the said Major J. J. Weiler, now a Past Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic for the district of Texas, has united, and which memorial is as follows:
"To the Honorable President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Legislature of the State of Indiana:
"The undersigned, your memorialists, most respectfully show that they were selected by the Association of Survivors of Terry's Texas Rangers, a committee to memorialize your honorable bodies for the return to said association of the colors of that command, lost during the Civil War near Coosaville, Alabama.
"Your memorialists would show that in a cavalry engagement on the 13th day of October, 1864, the flag of the Texas Rangers was lost near the field and found by one of your memorialists, Mr. J. J. Weiler, then the Major of the 17th Indiana Infantry, and was subsequently deposited in the archives of your State.
"In view of the fact that the American people have forever put behind them the animosities and heartburnings which were incident to our unfortunate Civil War, and are one united, patriotic people, marching shoulder to shoulder under the folds of the Star Spangled Banner, and keeping the step to 'Hail Columbia' in the onward sweep to that high destiny, which, through the providence of God, awaits our grand Republic.
"Your memorialists would most respectfully request that such action be taken by your honorable bodies as will result in the return of the flag to the Association of the Survivors of Terry's Rangers.
"As beautifully and appropriately expressed by Col. W. D. Wylie, in his letter hereto attached, 'We now drink out of the same canteen, sheltered and protected by one common flag,' a sentiment so universal that it is without hesitation we appeal to our countrymen, the brave and gallant and patriotic citizens of Indiana, in even a matter of sentiment so delicate as that involved in our request. And as gracious as the favor will be accounted by the association, we are sure that the still greater pleasure will be with the people of Indiana in bestowing it.
"Most respectfully submitted,
"H. H. GRABER, "W. D. CLEVELAND, "G. W. LITTLEFIELD, "R. Y. KING, "S. P. CHRISTIAN, "J. J. WEILER,
And, Whereas, There is attached to said memorial a letter from W. D. Wylie, also a Past Commander, G. A. R., of the Department of Texas, as follows:
"Dallas, Texas, September 30, 1898.
"Col. H. W. Graber, Quartermaster-General Trans-
Mississippi Department, U. C. V.:
"My Dear Sir: Referring to the conversation we had in reference to the colors of your old command, which had been lost during the late Civil War, on October 13, 1864, in a battle near Coosaville, Ala., by my comrade and our mutual friend, Maj. J. J. Weiler, of the 17th Indiana, who had, under instructions, turned the flag over to the State of Indiana, where it now reposes in the State library at Indianapolis, and which you are now endeavoring to have returned to the remnant of your old command as an old soldier, Colonel, I can readily understand the beautiful sentiment which is so characteristic of the American soldier in the desire of yourself and comrades to secure the colors under which you passed through so many dangers, which are now passed and gone, leaving only the memories of a struggle which has resulted, with all its sufferings and animosities, in bringing us closer together, and we now drink out of the same canteen, sheltered and protected by one common flag, and in this connection, at your request, it is with pleasure I give the episode relating to the return of the flag of the 57th Indiana Infantry by Texas, in 1885. While commanding the Department of Texas, Grand Army of the Republic, in 1885, Parsons' Confederate Brigade held their annual reunion at Cleburne, Texas. Myself and others who wore the blue were the honored guests of the brigade. During the proceedings, Major Heath and Capt. W. G. Veal called my attention to the fact that a brave soldier (a corporal) of the 13th Tennessee, now a resident and citizen of Texas, had in his possession and on the grounds the regimental flag and colors of the 57th Indiana, which he had captured at the Battle of Franklin, Tenn., in December, 1864, and had taken careful care of for twenty years, hoping that he would find some representative of that regiment to whom he could return this priceless and precious relic. I received the valued colors from the brave soldier and immediately conferred with Department Commander of the State of Indiana, and was informed that the 57th would hold their annual reunion during the month of September of the current year, and they earnestly requested that Texas be present in person at that time for the return of their long-lost colors. We arranged that Capt. W. G. Veal and Maj. E. M. Heath, of the Confederate Veterans, and Corporal W. M. Crooks, the brave soldier who had captured the colors, should accompany myself and staff to the reunion at Kokomo, taking with us the flag.
there is additional information on the legality of the return, page 410-423.
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
page 395 - Texas Terry Flag
Names of officers and men mentioned for bravery and efficiency: Sergt. John W. Deen, Major J. J. Weiler Captured flags - Seventeenth Indiana
Fort Wayne News
21 Jun 1898
CONFEDERATE FLAGS -- THOSE AT INDIANAPOLIS
Preserved at the State Museum - Story of the Capture of the Most Notable Ones
The discussion as to the disposal of the confederate flags taken in battle has caused a great deal of interest to be displayed on those now preserved at the state capitol.
They are preserved in the state museum in the state capitol, on the south side; opposite the case in which the union flags are kept. Ten of them bear labels telling of the date and place of capture. The remainder have no mark, all that is known being that they were captured in battle by Indiana soldiers. Efforts have been made to ascertain the history of all the flags, but so far these have been fruitless.
Prominent among the flags is the one dictates that the banner was made at home by the hand of a sympathizing southern woman. This flag was taken near Galesville, Ala., Oct. 13, 1864, by two companies of the Seventeenth Indiana Infantry, led by Major J.J. Weiler, of company E. This regiment was part of Wilder’s brigade. The flag of the Texas Rangers is the most noticeable of the confederate banners. An ex-confederate soldier, who stood for a long time in front of the captured flags, a day or so ago, said the flag of the Rangers was a rare specimen of the banners of the confederacy
The Confederate Veteran - Jul 1897
FLAG OF TERRY'S TEXAS RANGERS
An event well worthy of elaborate mention is that of the return of the battle flag of Terry's Texas Rangers, Eighth Texas Cavalry. Comrades H. W. Graber, George B. Littlefield, S. B. Christian, W. D. Cleveland, and R. Y. King, a committee from the Rangers, and J. J. Weiler, now of Texas, petitioned for its return, setting forth that it was lost by their command during an engagement near Coosaville, Ala., October I3, 1864, and found by J. J. Weiler, of the Seventeenth Indiana Regiment, and turned over to the State of Indiana. Gov. James A. Mount, of Indiana, attended by a committee of Union veterans, went to Dallas, where he was met by Gov. Sayers and Confederate associations of Texas. The ceremonies attending the return of this flag were interesting and in every way creditable.
The return of this flag was all the more cordial because of the return, a few years ago, of the flag of the Fifty-Seventh Indiana Regiment, captured by Corporal W. M. Crooks, of Texas, in the glare of carnage at Franklin, November 30, 1864. Comrade Crooks was greatly honored by the men of that regiment at its formal return, an account of which appeared in the VETERAN for July, 1897.
It is a coincidence that at this sitting a letter comes from a prominent member of the Woman's Relief Corps of Indiana, who writes of having spoken to a friend, prominent in that State, about the use of the word "rebel" in describing the flags in their State capitol. He replied to her that it was done many years ago, that it ought not to be so, and that he would see to having it changed. All these things show the virtue of persistence in righting things that will be of increasing importance as the decades pass.
In his address Gov. Mount said: "We come to-day to return to its original owners a flag which was once borne bravely in bloody conflict. We come bearing the flowers of love and of peace, returning this flag that it may be a testimony and a symbol of a reunited people, reunited in fact, reunited in heart, in sympathy, and in brotherly love."
To Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson he paid a splendid tribute, feeling and tender and manly.
Gov. Mount read a poem by Frank L. Stanton. of Atlanta:
But now I'm in the Union. I see there, overhead,
The flag our fathers fought for; her rippling rills of red
All glorious and victorious; the splendor of her stars---
And I say: "The blood of heroes dyed all her crimson bars."
I'm for that flag forever, 'gainst foes on sea and shore.
Who shames her? Who defames her? Give me my gun once more.
We'll answer where they need us-when the war fires light the night;
There's a Lee still left to lead us to the glory of the fight.
We're one in heart forever---we're one in heart and hand;
The flag's a challenge to the sea, a garland on the land;
We're united-one great country; freedom's the watchword still;
There's a Lee that's left to lead us---let the storm break where it will.
"Rejoicing in this union that will henceforth be defended by the brave Texans as valiantly as by Indianians, clothed with authority from the Legislature, which is expressive of the voice of the people, it becomes my pleasant duty to return to your excellency this battle flag, so gallantly carried in war by Terry's Texas Rangers, braver men than whom never drew sword in battle. Take this flag, and may it henceforth be an emblem of unity and good will between the great States of Indiana and Texas and a seal ot their fidelity to the national Union."
After music, Gen. Cabell introduced Gov. Sayers, who said:
"Cold indeed would be the heart that could not be warmed by such a scene as this. A short time ago the President announced that the time had come when it was the duty of the nation to care for the graves of the dead heroes of the South as well as for those of the North. From Maine to California and from far-away Washington to the remote borders of Southwest Texas-all over this country there went up a shout of approval from the people as with one voice. From the mountain top end 'from the valleys came words of commendation and indorsement.
"You, my ex-Confederate comrades, have listened to the words of eulogy by Gov. Mount of your gallantry and devotion, and on this point let me bear testimony. For fourteen years I represented this people, in part, in Congress, and while during that time in the debates and speeches many bitter and acrimonious things have been said, I never, during all those years. however fierce passion might burn, heard fall from the lips of a Northern soldier one word, one syllable in disparagement to the Southern soldier.
"I will tell you what is going, to happen. This is but the forerunner of other scenes like this. The day is not far distant when all over this country the survivors of the war will meet and celebrate their victories together. The war cost us much. Everything worth having costs labor, anxiety, and oftentimes blood and death. The government, North, East, and West, strong in resources, met the chivalry of the South. Four years of weary, bloody strife ensued, the most gigantic contest of the ages, and finally Appomattox came and Lee surrendered, the great, heroic, magnanimous Grant refusing to take his sword. And then Gen. Grant issued his order that rations be distributed among Lee's starving followers, and that the men take their horses home with them for use on the farms. In what land, under what sky, after four years of death and desolation, could you witness such a scene as this, save in our country? Judge Reagan, the last living member of President Davis's Cabinet, sits on this stage to-day. Ex-Confederates have sat in the House and in the Senate of the Congress, have been members of the council chamber of the President and ambassadors to represent the republic at the courts of foreign nations. In no country, with no people under the sun, could such a thing as this have taken place, save in our country.
"I only arose to be the organ for the transmission of this flag to these brave men, but my feelings would not permit silence.
"Gov. Mount and staff, when you go home you will take with you the best wishes, the earnest prayers, and the heartiest good will of all this people."
The band played the "Star-Spangled Banner," the entire audience standing and cheering the glorious old anthem. Gen. H. W. Graber then introduced Hon. James F. Miller, of Gonzales, President of the Terry Rangers' Association, who, on the part of the Rangers, received the flag.
I would add, in regard to this last flag of my regiment that it was presented to us by Miss Flora McIver and her sister, and was made out of a silk dress of ante - bellum days. John McIver brought the flag to us when we were returning from the last great raid made by Gen. Joseph Wheeler in Tennessee in the fall of 1864. The Rangers saw this flag for the first time when preparing to re-cross the Tennessee River near Florence, Ala. We were charmed with its beauty, and vowed to defend it, remembering the noble ladies who gave it.
We only had the flag about a month, when it was lost in passing through the woods on the day of the engagement with Gen. Wilder's Cavalry, October 12, 1864. When lost the flag was wrapped in an oilcloth case, which slipped off the flagstaff unknown to our standard bearer, Commandant Jones.
John J Weiler & the Terry's Texas Rangers Flag
13 Oct 1864 , Coosaville, Alabama
Capture and Return of the Terry's Texas Rangers Flag
May 29, 1913 Major John J Weiler was living in Tropico, California. He wrote memoirs of his time in the service that were published in “Souvenir, the Seventeenth Indiana Regiment: a history from its organization to the end of the war, giving description of battles” In this publication it addresses the capture of the Terry’s Texas Ranger Flag “On the 13th of October, 1864, after the charge on the rebel strongly posted on Noses Creek, I was ordered by Colonel A.O. Miller, commanding the brigade, to take the leading two companies, H & I, of the Seventeenth and follow a bunch of rebels that were seen to go in the woods. On reaching the road they were on we captured the flag of the Eighth Texas, Terry’s Texas Rangers.”
Several communications were read bearing on a flag. of the Terry Rangers which is held by the state of Indiana as a trophy of war, and which, it is claimed, was captured , but the correspondence showed it was found after a battle, and not captured at all. A committee was appointed to act in conjunction with Maj. Weiler, of the Seventeenth Indiana Volunteers, to memorialize the Indiana Legislature to have this flag returned to the Rangers. The following were appointed on the committee: Henry W. Graber, George W. Littlefield, S. P. Christian, R. Y. King, and W. D. Cleveland.
This banner commemorates the return of the Regimental standard of the 8th Texas Cavalry by the State of Indiana in ceremony held in Dallas, Texas on October 5, 1899 (see The Confederate Veteran 1899 7:545-546, and The Boston Evening Transcript, August 22, 1899). According to the Transcript two banners were made by the state of Indiana - one for Governor Mount and one for his Texas counterpart, Governor Sayers. The banner offered here was purchased this banner at the estate sale of descendant of Governor Mount,; presumably this is one of the two banners described in the 1899 newspaper article cited above.
The event marked the end of a long period of negotiation between the states of Texas and Indiana. J.J. Weiler of the 17th Indiana had found the on October 13, 1864, during an engagement near Coosaville, Alabama. The banner was subsequently turned in to the Indiana’s Adjutant General.
This banner incorporates the history of two storied Civil War Cavalry brigades, the 8th Texas, or "Terry’s Texas Rangers" and the 17th Indiana Mounted Infantry - "Wilder’s Lightning Brigade." The 8th Texas Cavalry (1861-1865) was organized by Col. Benjamin Franklin Terry in August 1861, and ultimately participated in some 275 engagements in seven states in the Western theater. The unit earned a reputation that ranked it among the most effective mounted regiments in the "western theater" of operations.
"Wilder’s Lightning Brigade" of the 17th Indiana Mounted Infantry, was likewise a hard fighting unit, organized by industrialist Col. John T. Wilder of Greensberg, Indiana. Wilder’s unit became legendary for their use of Spencer repeating rifles in the Tullahoma Campaign and especially at Chickamauga where they turned the tide of a portion of the Confederate assault.
Southern Mercury. (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 19, No. 35, Ed. 1 Thursday, August 31, 1899
Texas State Fair and Dallas Exposition
Shiner Gazette (Shiner, Tx) Imge 8 15 Mar 1899
The Terry Texas Flag
It Was Lost by The Stranded Bearer And Afterward Found by The Enemy - Bit of History
Every surviving Terry Ranger highly appreciates the action of Major Weiler, the Indiana legislature, and that of our owen state in their partiotic action in this matter.