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The Oldest Artifact in the Texas Capitol Building

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Behind the speaker's desk in the House of Representatives chamber at the state capitol in Austin hangs the oldest artifact in the capitol, a battle flag that was carried by Texian forces at the battle of San Jacinto in 1836. The flag, also known as the Newport Rifles Company Flag, 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. It has been restored and now hangs in its position of honor.


Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.

Posted : 5th January 2020 11:21 am