Fifteenth Northwest Arkansas Infantry Van Dorn-Style Battle Flag
The 15th Northwest Arkansas Infantry Regiment was originally formed as the 3rd Arkansas Infantry Battalion consisting of four companies of Arkansas State Troops from Benton, Franklin, and Yell counties. The men had originally traveled to Bentonville in July of 1861 to serve as Arkansas State Troops. Instead, they were organized into the 3rd Arkansas Infantry Battalion and mustered into the service of the Confederate States on July 15, 1861. The 1st and 2nd Arkansas Mounted Rifles were also added to the 3rd Arkansas. The unit saw action both west and east of the Mississippi, taking an active part in the battle at Wilson’s Creek on August 10, 1861, then marched to Camp Jackson, Arkansas, where it was stationed from September 1, 1861, through the middle of October when it was ordered to Missouri, eventually returning Arkansas around November 1st, 1861. In November 1861, four additional companies from Benton, Pope, and Washington counties joined the 3rd Arkansas Battalion, now making a total of eight companies. Brigadier General McCulloch (under whom the battalion was assigned) promised to add the last two companies shortly and asked the War Department to authorize the battalion to be designated as a regiment. So the War Department assigned the designation of 21st Arkansas Infantry Regiment on December 3, 1861, while the men were stationed at Camp Benjamin, Arkansas. The new regiment spent the winter at Cross Hollows, Arkansas, until February 20, 1862, when it was ordered to Sugar Creek, Missouri, with the rest of the army to join General Sterling Price’s forces in the unsuccessful Missouri Expedition. The unit participated in the retreat after several skirmishes and arrived back in the Boston Mountains of northwest Arkansas. On March 3rd it was ordered to attack Union forces at the Battle of Pea Ridge which was fought on March 11, 1862. The regiment was still designated as the 21st Arkansas Infantry Regiment for this battle. It sustained heavy losses at Pea Ridge and retreated to Van Buren, Arkansas. After Pea Ridge, the 21st Arkansas and the rest of the Confederate Army of the West was ordered to Corinth, Mississippi where, on May 8, 1862, the regiment was reorganized for the war. On May 12, 1862, while in Corinth, the last two companies were added to the regiment, bringing it up to the required ten companies. During the Iuka-Corinth Campaign, (still designated the 21st Arkansas) the regiment participated in the Battles of Corinth and Hatchie Bridge on September 19th and October 5th, 1862. After October of 1862, the War Department recognized that there was already a 21st Arkansas Infantry and redesignated it as the 15th Arkansas. In February of 1863 the regiment was ordered to insert the word “Northwest” in its regimental designation to distinguish it from, Colonel Benjamin W. Johnson’s 15th Arkansas which was operating in the same theater thus, the 15th (Northwest) Arkansas Regiment. The newly redesignated 15th Northwest Arkansas was assigned to Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton’s Army of Mississippi for the Vicksburg Campaign. They fought at the Battle of Port Gibson and at the siege of Vicksburg from May 18th, – July 4th, 1863. The regiment was surrendered after the fall of Vicksburg on July 4th, 1863. After being paroled and exchanged at Vicksburg, the remaining able-bodied men from the regiment who reported for duty were consolidated with other depleted Arkansas regiments thus forming the 1st Arkansas Consolidated Infantry Regiment of the Trans-Mississippi Department. This regiment was surrendered along with the entire Department of the Trans-Mississippi by General E. Kirby Smith on May 26, 1865. At the time of surrender, all of the Arkansas infantry regiments were camped around the Marshall, Texas area because Arkansas and Louisiana were so war-torn, that they were no longer able to support the army. The regiments were ordered to report to Shreveport, Louisiana, to be paroled, but none of them did so as regiments. Some individual soldiers went to Shreveport, but the regiments simply disbanded without formally surrendering and most of the men simply made their way home.
The “Van Dorn Style” Battle Flag of the 15th Northwest Arkansas Infantry was presented to the regiment after the Battle of Hatchie Bridge. The flag and its color bearer were captured near Port Gibson, Mississippi, on May 1st, 1863. It is the only known Van Dorn-style flag to carry battle honors and a unit designation. Major-General Earl Van Dorn adopted this flag design for the Army of the West in February 1862, because of the need for a distinctive and recognizable battle flag thus avoiding confusion with the Stars and Stripes carried by Union forces. The design bears no resemblance to any other standards displayed during the Civil War. Its design consisted of a red field, 13 stars to represent the thirteen southern states, and the crescent was meant to represent Missouri. The flag was returned to Arkansas by the State of Indiana. It is currently in the possession of the Old State House Museum, Little Rock, Arkansas.
This is a reproduction of the 15th Northwest Arkansas Infantry Regiment and is intended to look as the flag would have appeared during the Civil War. Not as it appears today. The actual dimensions and material are not exactly the same as the original flag.
Made of 100-denier printed polyester which is a very lightweight material with artwork that is visible on both sides of the flag.
- One solid piece of printed, hemmed fabric
- Lightweight, 100-denier polyester that will fly nicely in the slightest breeze.
- Bright colors
- 4 rows of stitching on the fly end to prevent premature fraying
- Reinforced header with brass grommets
- Flag size: 3′ x 5′