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    Description

    Confederate "Liberty or Death" Flag Captured by Custer's Cavalry from Stuart's Cavalry During the Retreat after the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Confederate 1st national flag; believed to have been taken from the baggage train at Jack's Shop, Virginia during the Confederate retreat after the Battle of Gettysburg when Stuart's cavalry was protecting Lee's retreat. It was captured by William Goodman, Company I, Fifth Michigan Cavalry (Custer's Cavalry). He enlisted from Salem, Michigan August 19, 1862 and was taken prisoner at James City, Virginia on October 11, 1863. Goodman remained a prisoner of war and died at the infamous Andersonville, Georgia prison on July 24, 1864. Accompanied by Private Goodman's family photograph album, which includes a 1/6th plate tintype of him standing with a cavalry saber. Also his kerchief with other personal and family effects, including a GAR medal.

    Authentication: Flag is a variation of the 1st national flag of the confederacy, the "Stars and Bars." Measuring overall 34 3/8" on the hoist (staff edge) by 53" wide on the fly. The field is composed entirely of cotton and consists of three horizontal bars - red uppermost, 11 inches wide but with a gap at the top of an inch. The center bar is 9¾" wide and the lowest red bar is 12¼" wide. Inset into the upper staff corner but extending only through the top red bar is a medium blue canton 12¼" high on the hoist by 12½" wide bearing 13 white cotton 5-pointed stars each 3¾" across their points appliquéd by hand to the obverse side, possibly cut away on the reverse. The leading edge of the flag is hemmed to a depth of 3/8" and once bore 4 hand sewn buttonhole eyelets. The lower and fly edges are decorated with a dark blue silk curtain 1¼" wide secured by floral decorated tape ¼" wide. In the center of the white bar is 16½" from the hoist edge is a 3 line motto, LIBERTY/ OR/ DEATH" in red cotton large block letters with serifs 1 3/8" tall.
    The 'Liberty or Death' motto was a common declaration during the Civil War, a demand made by the Virginian and Revolutionary War hero Patrick Henry in 1775 at St. John's Church in Richmond. Many Confederates believed the Civil War to be the second American Revolution in which many of their ancestors had fought and died. Indeed Patrick Henry's grandson was William Roane, the former United States Senator from Virginia. Henry's sister's grandson was Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston. 'Liberty or Death' was still very much a mindset during the Civil War.
    Letters of authenticity and research from renowned Civil War flag expert and author Howard Madaus.

    Provenance: Captured by William Goodman, 5th Michigan Cavalry
    The Don Tharpe Collection of American Military History

    Exhibited: The Liberty Heritage Society Museum *****




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2007
    24th-25th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 14,241

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