The 6th Regiment's Battle Flag which was captured at Sailor's Creek, VA, April 6, 1865.
RALEIGH: A Confederate battle flag lost in the final months of the Civil War was handed over again Saturday – this time back into the collection of the N.C. Museum of History following a $6,500 restoration.
The flag was carried by the 6th Regiment of North Carolina at the Battle of Sailor’s Creek in Virginia when it was captured by a Union soldier on April 6, 1865. Forty years later, the federal government returned the flag to North Carolina, but it remained hidden in storage because the torn and dirty fabric was not suitable for display, said Jackson Marshall, assistant director of programming at the history museum.
“It’s been 100 years since the public has seen this flag,” Marshall said. “Now it’s cleaned and conserved in a way that will protect it for another 40 or 50 years.”
The museum is short on funds for restoring historic artifacts and must depend on private groups such as the Cedar Fork Rifles Preservation Society, which raised money to restore the 6th Regiment flag, he added. The museum has about 125 battle flags but only about 30 have been cleaned and preserved so they can be made available for display.
More than 100 people from across the state came to the dedication Saturday to see the flag and share stories about the N.C. 6th Regiment, which formed in Charlotte in May 1861 and fought its first major battle two months later in Manassas, Va., also known as the First Battle of Bull Run.
“It was the only North Carolina battalion at that first great battle of the war,” said Rick Walton, a Civil War historian and member the Cedar Fork Rifles Preservation Society.
Known as “the bloody 6th,” the regiment fought constantly during the war and at many famous battle sites in throughout Virginia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina: Yorktown, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, New Bern, Plymouth, Petersburg and others. Starting out with 1,000 members, the ranks were diminished by injuries and deaths after years of fighting. Replacements were brought in whenever possible, Marshall said.
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