"A Flag The Rebels Didn't Get"

Battle Flag of the 48th Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry
(Probably the 1st battle flag)
Courtesy of Ohio Historical Society

by Isaac Carman, 48th OVI

At ten o'clock on the morning of May 22d, at Vicksburg, our brigade captured a fort, together with a number of prisoners. The colors of the Forty-eighth Ohio and Seventy-seventh Illinois Infantry, were ordered to be planted on the fort, which was done by Sergeant Dave Vore and one of the Illinois men.

We were then in a very desperate position, and, in addition to the enemy's fire, received some of the shells of our own batteries, which fell short of their mark. To relieve myself somewhat of this uncomfortable situation. I unfixed my bayonet and dug a little trench near the top of the works, close by our flag. An Illinois man crawled beneath me into an excavation caused by the explosion of a shell. We arranged that he should reload our guns, while I continued firing at the enemy whenever one of them would come within my sight and range. This lasted several hours, when the rebels brought a battery to bear on my position, and, for some time shells were singing their song so dangerously near to my head, that my position became hardly tenable. A little letter the enemy began massing troops at this point. I was able to distinctly hear their commands and see their numerous bayonets. Then I thought it high time to notify our officers of the danger our flag was in. I noticed that our men were some distance behind, in the ditch but determined to rescue the flag, [I] rushed back, and received from Capt. Posegate [Co. D] the permission to get it, if possible. I seized it none too soon, for the terrific assault came sooner than I expected. "I reached the top of the bastion and grasped the Ohio flag; the Illinois standard could not be saved. How I got down and paced the hundred feet to our ditch, through all that tremendous fire, I cannot tell. In my great haste I ran right into the bayonet of one of my own company [Co. A], who was then in charging position. Driving its entire length into my leg and thigh. Although I almost dropped into a faint, I had enough presence of mind to run the shaft of the flag into the ground and hang onto it. My comrades pulled me down into their ditch and got the bayonet out of my leg. I was taken to the rear.
Isaac A. Carmen [Carman]

Besides the exploit which Corporal Isaac H. Carmen [Carman] here describes, he also saved the lives of a number of his comrades, by seizing a shell with a burning fuse, and throwing it back to the Rebels, whence it came, slaughtering them with their own weapon of death, intended for Union men.

W.F. Beyer and O.F. Keydel, 1903
Deeds of Valor: How America's Civil War Heroes Won the Medal of Honor,
Perrien-Keydel Co. Detroit. Michigan:
Reprint of above by Longmeadow Press. Stamford. CT. 1992
(pp. 201-202)

 Corporal Isaac Carmen, from Ohio's Medal of Honor Recipients


Return to the 48th OVVI Home Page