Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/349

This page needs to be proofread.


Tl.r Fnrt'l-l'n.irlh \. < '. /, ( l'",,/r>/. 345

regiments during brigade drills, and as the 44th was always made tin- central regiment, upon which the others of the brigade dressed in line of battle, as \\cll as on parade, a new Hag had become a necessity.

The new battle Hag was < arried by Color Sergeant George Barber, of Co. G. until the night of April ist, 1X65, when crossing the Ap- pomattox, he wrapped a stone in it and dropped it in the river, saying to his comrades about him, " No enemy can ever have a flag of the 44th North Carolina Regiment." The wonderful power which the high order of "esprit de corps" exerted for good amongst the offi- cers and men, is illustrated by an incident which is worthy to be recorded amidst the feats of heror-.

A private by the name of Tilman, in the regiment, had on several occasions attracted General MacRae's favorable attention and, at his request, was attached to the color guard. Tilman's name was also honorably mentioned in the orders of the day from brigade head- quarters.

Soon thereafter, in front of Petersburg, the regiment became severely engaged with the enemy and suffered heavy loss. The flag several times fell, as its bearers were shot down in quick succession. Tilman seized it and again carried it to the front. It was but an instant and he, too, fell. As one of his comrades stooped to raise the flag again, the dying soldier touched him, and in tones made weak by the approach of death, said, " Tell the General I died with the flag." The tender memories and happy associations connected with his boyhood's home faded from his vision as he rejoiced in the consciousness that he had proved himself worthy of the trust which had been confided to him.

The old battle flag of the regiment, tattered and torn by ball and shell, its staff riddled and its folds in shreds, was presented to Mrs: Delia Worth Bingham, wife of Captain Robert Bingham, Co. G, by the Major commanding, as a mark of respect and esteem in behalf of officers and men to a woman who had won their affectionate re- gard, and whose husband had ever followed it with fidelity and forti- tude upon every field where it waved. Captain Bingham, whose home is in Asheville, N. C. , still has it in his possession.

Its folds shall become mouldy with the lapse of years. The time will come when the civil war shall only be remembered as a shadow of days long passed, but the memories of the great deeds of the sons of Carolina who followed that flag, and who sleep in unknown graves upon the fields of Northern Virginia, shall survive unshaken amidst the ruins of time.