8th Alabama Infantry Company “I” Sons of Erin Battle Flag
The 8th Alabama Infantry was the first Confederate regiment from Alabama to be enlisted for the war. It was organized in Mongomery in May of 1861 and was made up of men recruited from Mobile, Perry, Dallas, Butler, and Coosa counties. By March of 1862, the regiment was reported to be “1000 strong” which was typically the size of a Confederate infantry regiment. Company “I” of the 8th Alabama Regiment formed on January, 11th 1861, was actually the 1st “unit” from Alabama to volunteer for military service in the Confederacy. The company was made up of a little over 100 men recruited from the Mobile area, and who were all or almost all Irish. They later became known as the “Emerald Guards” because of the heavy Irish influence. Following their example, many other Irishmen from the surrounding areas flocked to join the 8th Alabama and take up arms alongside each other making the regiment predominantly Irish. In the Spring of 1862, after being assigned to several different units since being mustered into service, the 8th Alabama Regiment was finally attached to General Pryor’s Brigade in Longstreet’s Division. The 8th Alabama was issued their first Army of Northern Virginia (ANV) regimental battle flag sometime in May or June of 1862. The Emerald Guards had their own company flag which was a green and gold “Sons of Erin” style flag. The design consisted of a gold Irish harp surrounded by a wreath of golden shamrocks with the phrases “Erin Go Bragh” (Ireland Forever) and “Faugh A Ballagh” (Clear the Way) emblazoned in gold lettering across the top and bottom of the flag with an emerald green background. Some eyewitness accounts describe the flag as having the green “Sons of Erin” design (as described above) on one side and a 1st national style flag with a full body portrait of George Washington in the center and “8th Alabama Company I” and “Emerald Guards” printed in white letters on the upper and lower red bars. The 8th saw its first major engagement at the Battle of Williamsburg on May 5th and 6th 1862 and then went on to fight at Seven Pines on May 31st and June 1st, 1862. Then Mechanicsville on June 26th and Gaines’ Mill on June 27th. On June 30th, at the Battle of Frasiers Farm, only 180 men of the 8th were engaged. After Frasiers Farm, the 8th Alabama went on to fight in nearly all of the major battles in which the ANV was engaged, including 2nd Manassas, Harper’s Ferry, Antietam, Fredricksburg, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Courthouse, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and Appomattox Courthouse. Of the 1377 men who served in the 8th Alabama Infantry throughout the course of the war, approximately 300 were killed in action while more than 170 died from disease. When The 8th Alabama surrendered to Union forces at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9th,1865 along with the rest of the ANV, there were only 16 officers and 153 enlisted men who were present and fit for duty. The fate and the whereabouts of the Emerald Guards flag are unknown, so historians can only go by the few available written descriptions concerning the flag’s appearance.
This is a reproduction of the Emeral Guards Company Flag and represents the green Sons of Erin style side only. The actual dimensions and materials are not exactly the same as the original flag. The artwork is visible on both sides. The lettering reads right on one side only.
- 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′