An exhibit highlight features a battle flag associated with the death of Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. The banner was carried by the 18th Regiment North Carolina Troops, which accidentally shot the Confederate general at Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863.
On Nov. 9, 2013, the N.C. Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans unveiled four newly conserved Civil War flags during a rededication ceremony at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. These historic banners, the colors of the 24th, 34th, 38th and 39th N.C. Troops, are part of the museum’s Confederate flag collection, one of the largest in the nation.
The N.C. Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, with 90 camps (chapters) across the state, spent years raising funds for the expensive textile treatment required to conserve the banners. This specialized treatment ranges from $7,000 to $30,000 per item. The group also helped the museum purchase a much-needed storage unit that holds 10 conserved flags.
“The Museum of History owes a debt of gratitude to the North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans for its generous contribution to conserve these important artifacts,” said Jackson Marshall, Associate Director at the N.C. Museum of History. “Without the support of individual citizens and private organizations, few, if any, of the museum’s Civil War flags would be preserved for future generations to see and appreciate.”
John Campbell, the museum’s Collections Section Chief, is grateful for the new storage unit. “Each banner is mounted on a pressure mount inside a sturdy metal frame, so the heavy-duty shelving system allows us to safely store the flags flat when they are not on exhibit.”
A brief description of the conserved flags follows.
● The 24th Regiment N.C. Troops was originally mustered into service as the 14th Regiment N.C. Volunteers in July 1861. The regiment’s third bunting Army of Northern Virginia-pattern battle flag was captured at Five Forks, Va., on April 1, 1865.
● The 34th Regiment N.C. Troops was one of many Tar Heel regiments in the Army of Northern Virginia that fought under Gen. Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg. The regiment’s third bunting Army of Northern Virginia-pattern battle flag was captured at Cemetery Ridge during the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863.
● The 38th Regiment N.C. Troops carried this third bunting Army of Northern Virginia-pattern battle flag at the end of the Civil War. It was surrendered at Appomattox on April 12, 1865, and then sent to the U.S. War Department.
● The 39th Regiment N.C. Troops, unlike most Tar Heel regiments, did not serve in the Army of Northern Virginia. It fought in the western theater and earned fame during the September 1863 battle at Chickamauga in Georgia with it capture of Federal artillery. This banner’s pattern is a variant of the McCown battle flag, which is modeled after the Scottish national flag, and is distinctive of other flags flown by the Confederate Army.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans is not a group to rest on its laurels. It has already raised funds to begin conservation of two more artifacts: a third bunting Army of Northern Virginia-pattern infantry battle flag attributed as the headquarters flag of Brig. Gen. Rufus C. Barringer and the frock coat of Lt. Col. Francis Wilder Bird of Bertie County. He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Reams Station in Virginia on Aug. 25, 1864.
“The North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is honored to help the Museum of History preserve artifacts from our Confederate heritage and ancestry,” adds Craig Pippen, Communications Officer, N.C. Division of the Sons of Confederate
Veterans. “Our organization is proud to work with the museum to preserve and educate others about the history of our great state. We will continue to support and grow our relationship with the museum and its staff whenever possible.”