Flags Of The 5th

Orphan Brigade
Orphan Brigade Flag
"The Orphan Brigade" was the nickname of the First Kentucky Brigade, a group of military units recruited from the Commonwealth of Kentucky to fight for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. The brigade was the largest Confederate unit to be recruited from Kentucky during the war. Its original commander was Major General John C. Breckinridge, former Vice President of the United States and candidate for President, who was enormously popular with Kentuckians.

Unit Flag
Following the battle of Murfreesboro, the Orphans were assigned to Gen. William J. Hardee's Corps, and they were issued battle flags of Hardee's pattern in early 1863 (recent research indicates that this style of flag was probably invented by Gen. Simon Boliver Buckner of Kentucky). The Hardee flag belonging to the 9th Kentucky survives today in the family of the final commander of the regiment. The unit designation on this flag is a graphic reminder that the 9th was numbered as the 5th ( 9th / Formerly the / 5th Ky ) for its first year of existence.
There were really two "5th Kentucky Infantry" regiments in Confederate service - both ended up serving in the Orphan Brigade - and this led to quite a bit of confusion, then and now (actually, there were four 5th Kentucky Infantry regiments, but three of them were more-or-less the same unit).   When the Brigade was organized in late 1861, it contained a regiment under the command of Col. Thomas Hunt, numbered the 5th.  However, unknown to the Orphans, another regiment in Eastern Kentucky had also formed as the 5th Kentucky, and since this regiment had perfected its organization first, the Confederate War Department redesignated Hunt's regiment as the 9th Kentucky in October 1862.  To confuse the issue even further, the Eastern Kentucky 5th Kentucky Infantry (reorganized from the original unit) joined the Orphans in November 1863, and served with them through the remainder of the war.
Most postwar writings show Hunt's regiment as the 9th Kentucky, to minimize confusion (Thompson's Brigade histories are written this way, and the reports that appeared in the Official Records were also changed to reflect Hunt's regiment as the 9th, even during the period when they were called the 5th).  However, it is still possible today to find period manuscript sources that refer to Hunt's regiment as the 5th Kentucky (some of these sources also refer to Col. John W. Caldwell, who succeeded Col. Hunt in April 1863, and who had often acted in command of the regiment previously).