Newport Rifles Company Battle Flag, ca. 1835–1836

Courtesy State Preservation Board, Austin

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This is the only existing flag carried by the Texian army at the Battle of San Jacinto to remain in Texas. The charging Lady Liberty with sword drawn and “Liberty or Death” emblazoned on her sash originally had a blue background. The Newport Rifles of Kentucky, a 52-man company of volunteers carried the flag into battle. Before their departure for Texas, the unit received the flag from the ladies of Newport, Kentucky who had the painting of Liberty done by the 22 year old artist, James Henry Beard.

Led by Captain Sidney Sherman, the volunteer soldiers’ journey to Texas was not easy. They left Kentucky aboard the steamer Augusta on December 31, 1835 in the middle of a snowstorm. They traveled down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, then up the Red River to Natchitoches, Louisiana. The unit reached Texas later in January and proceeded to San Felipe, Texas. There, the Newport soldiers became part of the First Texas Regiment. As the number of volunteers grew, Sherman quickly rose to the rank of Colonel and received command of the Second Regiment of Texas Volunteers. It was Sherman who began the attack at San Jacinto, and who is credited with shouting the battle cry, "Remember the Alamo!"

After the battle, the Newport volunteers returned this flag to Sherman and his family. His three daughters gave the tattered silk to the State of Texas on August 8, 1896. Usually displayed in the Texas House of Representatives when it is in session, the San Jacinto battle flag has undergone several conservation treatments since the 1930s. Little remains of the original flag, but it has a place of honor as a Texas treasure.

See this and other artifacts on the Interactive Texas Map

Newport Rifles Company Battle Flag, ca. 1835–1836 Artifact from San Jacinto
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