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    30" X 36", Blue Silk, Handpainted, Center Section Of The Presentation Flag Of The "Mississippi Rifles", Escort And Honor Guard To Jefferson Davis And Subsequently, During The Civil War, Company A of the 10th Mississippi Infantry. In superb condition, both the silk and paint as sound and bright as the day the flag was presented. There is some 'unevenness' in the cut on the bottom and the left side, but this is likely the result of the hasty removal by the souvenir hunter rather than any deterioration of the flag. The flag unquestionably did not accompany the unit into the field during the Civil War, and was likely in storage when discovered, and this center section cut out and 'liberated' as a souvenir by a Union soldier.
    While all pre war southern unit flags are quite rare, this superb and beautiful example is especially important and desirable, because of the unit's history as the personal honor guard and escort to Jefferson Davis, along with its absolutely superb condition and magnificent visual impact.
    Painted in gold letters in an arc at the top "MISSISSIPPI RIFLES", below which is a fierce eagle posed in the act of spreading its wings and holding a red riband with the motto "TRY US" in the center. It is interesting to note that rather than being perched on a Federal shield which was more or less de rigueur for similar flags of this period, the eagle is posed on a rock promontory surrounded by clouds with blue sky above. Below, also painted in gold letters is the original presentation "PRESENTED by the LADIES OF JACKSON, MISS. JULY 4th 1860."
    The "Mississippi Rifles organized as a volunteer militia company in Jackson in January 1858. The unit's connection to the Mexican War, 1st Mississippi Regiment that carried that moniker was established through its 1st Lieut. Richard Griffith, who had served as Regimental Adjutant of the 1st Mississippi in Mexico under Col. Jefferson Davis. Griffith became Captain of the company in 1860, and served in that capacity until early 1861 when he became state Adjutant General, was subsequently appointed Brigadier General in the Confederate Army and was mortally wounded at Savage's Station in June of 1862.
    Among the many parades and public gatherings occurring at the time in Jackson, and recorded by the newspaper "The Semi-Weekly Mississippian", are the details of the ceremony at which this flag was presented to the company at the local fairgrounds on July 4, 1860, at the hands of Miss Sally Hay, along with a speech of acceptance by then 2d Lieut. Robert A. Smith who would succeed Griffith as Captain of the Company in 1861.
    On 9 January 1861, having seceded from the Union, Mississippi established a Military Board and its own army. When the Confederate States of American was formed, and Jefferson Davis was, in February, appointed "Provisional President", the Mississippi Rifles acted as "escort and guard of honor" to Davis for his trip to Montgomery, Ala., then the Confederate capital, doubtless accompanied by this magnificent flag.
    The unit entered Confederate service at the first call for troops as Co. A of the 10th Mississippi Inf. with Capt. Smith assuming command as Colonel in May of 1861. After 9 months service most of the members of the company re-enlisted for three years and were eventually designated Company D of the 10th. The regiment was very heavily engaged throughout the war, with Col Smith being killed at Munfordville. When the company surrendered with Johnston it could muster only 12 effectives. During its service the company lost 19 men killed and mortally wounded and 37 wounded.
    The flag is accompanied by a wealth of provenance and detailed research.
    An absolutely magnificent pre war southern flag, for both visual impact and its superbly documented history. A rare opportunity for the flag collector of any genre.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2012
    8th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,316

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