Preserving Our Heritage

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Legion Para

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The decline of the US economy has forced many States, institutions and museums to cut back on the preservation of our heritage. The following links will take you to major flag collections in the United States.

View these collections online. Visit these collections in person. Individually or as a group adopt a flag and assist in it's preservation.

http://www.wisconsinbattleflags.com

http://www.iowahistory.org/museum/battleflags/

http://www.pacivilwarflags.org

https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/btlflags/btlflagsindex.htm

http://cdm.georgiaarchives.org:2011/cdm/search/collection/flag

http://www.archives.state.al.us/referenc/Flags/index.html

http://www.tennessee.gov/tsla/history/military/flags.htm

http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/Collections/NCCivilWarFlags.aspx

https://acwm.org/collection/flag-collection



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Patrick H

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Nice idea for a thread. Missouri is conserving its collection of civil war era flags. They represent a large number of units from both sides. I have a clear memory from my boyhood of a number of these flags furled but otherwise on display at the state capitol building. (The problem with my recollection is that it was so long ago, I couldn't tell you for sure whether I saw it or imagined it).

http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/mdh_splash/default.asp?coll=cwflag
 
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People today can hardly imagine the unquestionable pride and determination that a Civil War era regiment on both sides put into the care and protection of their flag. To lose your unit's flag in battle was embarrassing and brought shame to the unit. The fighting and causalities around the "colors" was nearly always the worst. The color guard of a regiment was not only expected to say they would do everything they could to protect the colors but stand behind those words with their lives if necessary.

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After the war many regiments entrusted their colors to the original color bearers. These men were expected to be at every reunion with the colors and keep them protected between gatherings. As the years passed many of the veterans were granted the privilege of not only having the regimental flag at their funeral but some pieces of the flag were cut from the colors and laid to rest with the old soldier. And if the man who was caring for the flag passed on his wife was given specific instructions by the soldier on who to pass it on to before he died. In this way some flags were passed down to where they are still in families today. Regretfully many were lost in this process too.

Civil War veterans of the 13th Iowa Volunteer Infantry bring their regimental colors to the capital for internment in 1894.


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The Iowa Civil War Battle flags displayed in the state capital building rotunda. They were hung here for almost 100 years.

Some states concerned about the future of these flags asked the aged veterans to return them to their state for safe keeping and prosperity. This is how many of these stands of colors came to reside in state capital buildings. This was a temporary and unfortunate fix however. As time passed the flags hung in the state capitals and literally fell apart in glassed compartments that were neither temperature controlled or bug resistant over many years.

In the case of the state of Iowa in 2001 it was determined to preserve the flags as much as possible. So the flags were removed from the capital rotunda in Des Moines and taken to the state historical building for conservation work. Some three hundred flags are in the collection of the Iowa Historical Society and only a fraction have been preserved. Some are so far gone that it is nearly impossible to do anything with them but no one wants to be the one to make a decision on them.

Now in 2015 the state of Iowa is in bad way. The curator of the Iowa Battle flag program left in late 2013 or early 2014. No replacement has been hired and there is presently no intention of finding one.
 
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Legion Para

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Several living history/reenactment groups are involved with the preservation of our heritage. In 2011 the 15th Iowa Infantry was recreated for the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh 2012. One member made reproductions of the 15th Iowa flags for the event. Plus a t-shirt was sold to raise funds to help restore the original colours of the 15th Iowa.

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CSA Today

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People today can hardly imagine the unquestionable pride and determination that a Civil War era regiment on both sides put into the care and protection of their flag. To lose your unit's flag in battle was embarrassing and brought shame to the unit. The fighting and causalities around the "colors" was nearly always the worst. The color guard of a regiment was not only expected to say they would do everything they could to protect the colors but stand behind those words with their lives if necessary.

523.jpg



After the war many regiments entrusted their colors to the original color bearers. These men were expected to be at every reunion with the colors and keep them protected between gatherings. As the years passed many of the veterans were granted the privilege of not only having the regimental flag at their funeral but some pieces of the flag were cut from the colors and laid to rest with the old soldier. And if the man who was caring for the flag passed on his wife was given specific instructions by the soldier on who to pass it on to before he died. In this way some flags were passed down to where they are still in families today. Regretfully many were lost in this process too.

Civil War veterans of the 13th Iowa Volunteer Infantry bring their regimental colors to the capital for internment in 1894.


_flag_st.jpg


The Iowa Civil War Battle flags displayed in the state capital building rotunda. They were hung here for almost 100 years.

Expired Image Removed


Some states concerned about the future of these flags asked the aged veterans to return them to their state for safe keeping and prosperity. This is how many of these stands of colors came to reside in state capital buildings. This was a temporary and unfortunate fix however. As time passed the flags hung in the state capitals and literally fell apart in glassed compartments that were neither temperature controlled or bug resistant over many years.

In the case of the state of Iowa in 2001 it was determined to preserve the flags as much as possible. So the flags were removed from the capital rotunda in Des Moines and taken to the state historical building for conservation work. Some three hundred flags are in the collection of the Iowa Historical Society and only a fraction have been preserved. Some are so far gone that it is nearly impossible to do anything with them but no one wants to be the one to make a decision on them.

Now in 2015 the state of Iowa is in bad way. The curator of the Iowa Battle flag program left in late 2013 or early 2014. No replacement has been hired and there is presently no intention of finding one.

Thankfully, there is an ongoing program in North Carolina to conserve Civil War flags.

“Many flags in the Museum of History collection have been conserved through the Adopt an Artifact program launched in 2007. The colors of the 35th Regiment North Carolina Troops will be the 16th Civil War banner to undergo conservation since 2007.”

http://sonsofconfederateveterans.blogspot.com/2013/12/scv-preserves-north-carolina-flags.html

http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/Collections/NCCivilWarFlags.aspx
 
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huskerblitz

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Kentucky's are in awful shape, at least for many of them. A lot are just tatters now. They also don't know what unit many of them belong too. I emailed a correction to them and they at least acknowledged it. At one time the flags were given to the State Librarian by legislative action then eventually made their way to the State Archivist.
You can see some of them at the link below.
http://kyhistory.pastperfectonline.com/bysearchterm?keyword=Civil+War+flags
 
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ole

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The flags will be, in the not too distant future, all gone. Many are so far gone that the cost of restoration is prohibitive. We'd all like money to be spent on restoring them, but a bridge or a road takes precedence.
 
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Legion Para

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The flags will be, in the not too distant future, all gone. Many are so far gone that the cost of restoration is prohibitive. We'd all like money to be spent on restoring them, but a bridge or a road takes precedence.

The hundreds of millions of dollars unaccounted for from Afghanistan and Iraq could have gone a long way in preserving our heritage. Plus rebuilding roads and bridges.

Numerous private individuals and groups are raising funds to see these flags preserved. Some see this as a worthy cause.
 

ole

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The hundreds of millions of dollars unaccounted for from Afghanistan and Iraq could have gone a long way in preserving our heritage. Plus rebuilding roads and bridges.

Numerous private individuals and groups are raising funds to see these flags preserved. Some see this as a worthy cause.
It is worthy, but there never will be enough to save them all.
 

Legion Para

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I was going to start a new thread on Union Color Bearers, but decided that information should be part of this thread.

Pennsylvania has done tremendous research on its Civil War flags and Color Bearers.

http://www.pacivilwarflags.org/home/colorBearers.cfm


Historical Listing of Pennsylvania Civil War Color Bearers
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This appendix lists all known color-bearers included in both volumes of Advance the Colors: Pennsylvania’s Civil War Battle Flags. A few are marked with asterisks (*); these men are not mentioned in the regimental sketches since their names were found after the manuscript was completed. Some of these men carried flags in 1866 and were listed as previous bearers without elaboration. Names include rank, company, and fate, including dates bearing f1ag. Regiments are listed in numerical order.

Abbreviations: Pvt.=Private; Cpl.=Corporal; Sgt.=Sergeant; Lieut.=Lieutenant; Col.=Colonel.

Additional Note: Supplemental to Dr. Richard Sauers research for Advance the Colors from 1982-1992, there have been several bearers discovered, often times through tour groups, phone calls, family history and online research. We are also hopeful that as this ongoing list is posted online, relatives, researchers and reenactors will contact us to indicate any omissions to the list. Where appropriate, additional bearers will be noted with an infantryman’s insignia
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Legion Para

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William N. Irvine, 1st Minnesota.

http://firstminnesotafilms.org/men/william-newell-irvine/



The Men
• • •
William Newell Irvine

William Newell Irvine was born in New York, the son of William and Sarah Irvine. They moved to Minnesota in the late 1850′s, settling on a farm near Monticello. He enlisted at age 22 at the outbreak of war and was mustered into Company D of the First Minnesota Infantry on May 21, 1861. He was soon promoted to corporal. His younger brother Theodore enlisted in December of 1861 and was placed in Company C.

At the battle of Fredericksburg, Corporal Irvine’s company found itself in a precarious position on the evening of Dec. 14th, 1862 while trying to establish a new line as close to the enemy as possible. Some men heard noises in front of them that sounded like shoveling. Lt. Chris Heffelfinger and Corporal Irvine crept out to see what was what. The Confederates were alerted and Irvine was captured, while Heffelfinger made it back. Irvine was later released on parole and took his place with his regiment.

On July 3rd, during the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, while repulsing Pickett’s charge, Corporal Irvine took control of the First Minnesota battle flag after Corporal Henry D. O’Brien was shot. As reported in by 1st Sgt. James Wright of Company F,

“Captain Messick was in command, and Corporal John Dehn carried the flag-he being the only one of the color guard of the day before able to be on his feet at the close of fighting the evening of the 2nd-a new detail being necessary. In the ‘mix-up’ with Pickett’s men he was shot through the hand, and the same shot splintered the flagstaff so that it broke in two pieces. Corporal Henry D. O’Brien then took the piece with the flag on and kept it until twice wounded, when it passed to the hands of Corporal William N Irvine, who carried it through the fighting. The flag of the 28th Virginia was captured by Marshall Sherman. A portion of this staff was used to replace the broken portion of ours. The splice made in the field by a little rough whittling and bound with a knapsack strap and was carried afterwards until the regiment returned to the state the following February.”

Irvine was promoted to the rank of Color Sergeant and carried the regiment’s colors for the rest of their service until they were discharged. The adjacent photo shows Cpl. Irvine holding the repaired colors.

After the regiment mustered out in May of 1864, Irvine reenlisted. He retained his rank as the Regimental Color Sergeant. Shortly thereafter the new First Battalion of Minnesota Infantry was engaged with the enemy at the Battle at Petersburg. On June 18, 1864, while carrying the flag forward, Irvine was shot in the forehead. He was immediately taken to the 2nd Division Hospital, then on June 22nd to Carver Hospital in Washington, DC. The bullet had entered his brain. He was operated on and at first responded favorably. However, he became delirious and died on June 28th, ten days after being shot. Color Sgt William Newel Irvine lays buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

These soldier profiles were adapted from the website www.1stMinnesota.net and provided courtesy of Wayne Jorgenson.

Color Sgt William "Newel" Irvine. Here Irvine is seen holding the colors carried by the regiment at Gettysburg. The flag was literally shredded by shot and shell during the battle. This picture was taken in Alexandria, shortly after the battle. (Wayne Jorgenson)


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Legion Para

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http://www.butlercenter.org/civilwararkansas/

"Sergeant James M. Arnold served as the color bearer of the 12th Kansas Infantry Regiment. The unit, organized in Paola, Kansas, in September 1862, served in detachments along the Kansas and Missouri border until late 1863. By early 1864, the regiment was stationed at Fort Smith. It participated in Frederick Steele's Camden Expedition, in which it suffered considerably on the march, and later returned to Fort Smith. Near the end of the war, the regiment moved to Little Rock and mustered out in June 1865."


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