From the Richmond Dispatch, 2/13/1867, p. 1, c. 4
THE CONFEDERATE FLAG BUSINESS. – Much has been said in the North, and more will doubtless be said, concerning the displaying of a Confederate flag in the streets of Richmond, the flaunting of it in the faces of a party of Federal soldiers passing by, who were treated, in addition, to a shower of abuse and insults, etc., etc. The story will be explained by the following correspondence:
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF HENRICO,
RICHMOND, VA., February 4, 1867.
Hon. Joseph Mayo, Mayor city of Richmond, Va:
Sir, - I have been officially informed that a rebel flag was displayed before the house of a Mr. Palmer, on Franklin street, on Saturday evening last, and that on the approach of some soldiers belonging to Camp Grant, the flag was taken down by ladies coming from Mr. Palmer’s house. As the action of the party displaying the flag is calculated to bring on a collision between the military and the civilians in the city of Richmond, and thus disturb the public peace, I desire to know what course the civil authorities of the city propose to take to prevent a recurrence of this insult to the Government of the United States, and if the parties in this case can be made responsible for their offence. May I request an early answer to this communication?
Your obedient servant,
R. S. GRANGER,
Brevet Brigadier-General, U. S. A.,
Commanding District of Henrico.
RICHMOND, February 9, 1867.
General R. S. Granger, commanding District of Henrico:
General, - Upon the receipt of your communication of the 4th instant, as you are already aware, I immediately communicated with Mr. George S. Palmer upon the subject of this letter, by a personal interview with him, when I exhibited the letter to him. He assured me he had no knowledge of the occurrence alluded to, nor did he know of any such thing as a Confederate flag upon his lot. It is true, he informed me that there was an old flag that had been there for a considerable time, with which his children amused themselves in the yard of his lot, but that he had no recollection, nor did he believe, that it represented any Confederate emblem or design.
He assured me, however, that whatever it was, certainly, and he was sure that no member of his family intended by the uses made of it there to insult the United States Government or any of its officers or soldiers. After this he called upon me, and desired to be introduced to you. You are aware that I gratified him in this request, and you, as well as I, heard his explanation to you, and what was the result of that interview. Accordingly, he furnished me with a written statement of the transaction alluded to in your letter, which I now enclose to you.
You say as the action of the party displaying the flag is calculated to bring on a collision between the military and civilians in the city of Richmond, and thus disturb the public peace, you desire to know what course the civil authorities of the city purpose to take to prevent a recurrence of this insult to the Government of the United States, and if the parties in this case can be made responsible for this offence.
This occurrence took place beyond the corporate limits of this city, and over which our city government has no authority or control; and from my knowledge of the people of Richmond I feel perfectly assured that no such occurrence will take place within the limits of the authority of the city government.
We are a loyal and orderly people, with no desire or intention whatever to offer insult or indignity to the United States Government, or any department thereof, civil or military; and thus knowing the people of Richmond, I feel assured that I will never be called upon to act in any such case as the one now submitted to me. But, inasmuch as my jurisdiction as a justice of the peace of the Commonwealth of Virginia extends one mile around and about this city, and Mr. Palmer’s residence being within that jurisdiction, I should feel it my duty, if the facts stated to me constituted an offence against the laws of the State of Virginia, farther to inquire into it; but I am decidedly of opinion that such a case is not provided for by the State law.
I hope that the enclosed letter from Mr. Palmer, taken in connection with his personal interview with you, will be satisfactory; reassuring you that from the whole tenor of Mr. Palmer’s character as a peaceable, law-abiding, and loyal citizen, that such an occurrence as has given rise to this correspondence will not again take place, and that the peaceable relations now existing between the military and civil authorities of this city and county of Henrico will not be disturbed by any citizen.
I am, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed) JOSEPH MAYO, Mayor.