Saturday, June 17, 2023

The Stars & Bars vs. Quantrill's Flag? Frank James Humorless?

 June 17, 2023

   Frank James allegedly quoted Shakespeare at odd times during his violent career, prompting a fellow gang member to comment, "What good is Shakespeare at a time like this?" Or, words to that effect.

Daily Whip Out: "Frank James Seriously"

   And, according to a noted newspaperman, Frank was a bit humor challenged. John Newman Edwards, rode out to the James family farm north of Kearney, Missouri, and interviewed the brothers and captured the differences between them, in a St. Louis Dispatch article, published on November 22, 1873:

“Jesse laughs at everything—Frank at nothing at all. Jesse is light-hearted, reckless, devil-may-care—Frank sober, sedate, a dangerous man always in ambush in the midst of society. Jesse knows there is a price upon his head and discusses the whys and wherefores of it—Frank knows it too, but it chafes him sorely and arouses all the tiger that is in his heart. Neither will be taken alive. Killed—that may be."

  One of the fascinating discoveries I have found from doing Jesse James and the Civil War, is that the contentious Stars & Bars—the ubiquitous Confederate flag in all those Civil War movies we grew up on—was not used by the partisan rangers in Missouri, which begs the question: did the Bushwhackers carry any flags?

Daily Whip Outs: "Jesse & The Stars & Bars"

  Thanks to Paul Hoylen for turning me on to a history site called Kansapedia, an arm of the Kansas State Historical Society, where I found this interesting item:

   "Just after midnight on September 7, 1862, the town of Olathe, Kansas, was overrun by Confederate guerrillas.

   "In the hours before dawn the raiders killed several men and looted businesses and private homes. This flag apparently was carried by one of the raiders and dropped in the public square.

A Quantrill Battle Flag?
(and more importantly,
is that a fist, or a bad tree?)

   "The flag's existence raises many questions. Quantrill is not known to have carried any sort of flag; this is supported by some of his men in post-war accounts. Claims that he carried a black flag with the misspelled name 'Quantrell' in red originated in popular writings of the 1880s and have no basis in fact.

   "The flag's small size—just seven by 13 inches—also is unusual. One possible reason for the flag's small size is offered in Alan Sumrall's Battle Flags of Texans in the Confederacy, which cites a flag from the First Texas Infantry Regiment at approximately the same dimensions. It is referred to as a 'streamer' flag, placed on the staff above the regimental flag. But if Quantrill carried no large flag, a companion 'streamer' flag would not seem to be justified.

   "Another explanation may be found in the traditional use of "Bible" flags by both northern and southern families. These textiles were placed in the large family Bibles of the time to mark passages of scripture. Perhaps one of the raiders carried the flag as a keepsake, only to lose it in Olathe."


   To read the entire entry, go here:

A Quantrill Battle Flag?

"I have been under the impression that during the Civil War the stars and bars were, uniquely, the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia and it was only after the war that it became ubiquitous. To fly the actual national flag of the CSA would still be an act of rebellion but the battle flag while, as you put it, contentious, wasn't outright rebellion. It has been my impression that Quantrill's Raiders and the other 'Partisan Rangers' fought under their unit banners and only adopted the Stars & Bars flag after the war."

—W. Fleetwood

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