My new flag is hand sewn and of satin/silk measuring 18” X 32” with gold painted text that reads “WELCOME COMRADES, JONES VA VOLS. 1863- 1913” celebrating the 50th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg. Unlike most reunion flags of the time this flag is a bit more unusual in that it is facsimile of the 2nd National Pattern Flag, A.K.A. the Stainless Banner with its colorful Battle Flag canton and its white field. This flag was not as liked by most Confederates because of it’s white field background which could be mistaken as a flag of surrender if not viewed in full sight.
Brigadier General John M. Jones, nicknamed “Rum Jones” after his favorite pastime was promoted and served in Major General Edward Johnson’s Division who was attached to Lt. General Richard S. Ewell Second Corps. Jones Brigade consisted of Virginia Volunteers of the 21st, 25th, 42nd, 44th, 48th, and 50th infantry during the battle of Gettysburg.
In May of 63 Jones was promoted to Brigadier General in Edward “Allegheny” Johnson’s division to replace John R. Jones (not related). During the assault on Culp’s Hill, Jones suffered a severe wound in the thigh that put him out of action but he return only to be killed at the Battle of the Wilderness while attempting to rally his wavering men.
The Jones Brigade crossed Rock Creek and up the wooded slopes of Culp’s Hill towards the entrenched Union positions. Although the Southerners greatly outnumbered the enemy at this point of attack the advantage of defense clearly favored the North. Of the 1600 Jones Brigade troops that were present during the campaign 58 were killed, 302 wounded and 61 were missing for a total of 421 casualties or more the 25% casualty rate.
From the Battle of Manasas, Antietam (Sharpsburg), Gettysburg, Valley Campaign, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, 3rd Winchester, Cold Harbor all the way to Appomattox the Jones Brigade was there from start to finish. Wonder how many surviving members were present at the Gettysburg 50th anniversary? Wonder where there Camp was….near Culp’s Hill? Which of there wife’s, children, grandchildren made this flag? Guess I’ll never know the answer to all those questions……but I’m delighted to be the keeper of this war memento, at least while I’m here.