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    A beautiful flag, with the entire set steeped in history, and absolutely superb documentation

    His Presentation Flag, the Inscribed Sword He Was Wearing when Killed, and His Sword Belt: Descended for the last 150 years Through the Direct Lineal Descendants Confederate Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman, and Offered Here for the First Time. Tilghman was born in Maryland, graduating from West Point in 1836. He soon resigned his commission but re-entered service in 1847, seeing action in the Mexican War. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Tilghman commanded the Kentucky State Guard, most of whom he took with him into Confederate service, assuming command of the 3rd Kentucky Inf. on July 5, 1861. Promoted to Brig. Gen. on October 18, Tilghman oversaw the construction of Fts. Henry & Donelson and, on February 6, 1862, a combined force under Gen. Grant and Adm. Foote, attacked Ft. Henry, which after a vigorous defense, Tilghman was forced to surrender. Tilghman was imprisoned at Ft. Warren, and exchanged (interestingly for Union Gen. John Reynolds) on August 15. Tilghman returned to the field and was placed in command of a brigade during the Vicksburg campaign. At the Battle of Champion's Hill, on May 16, 1863, he was killed when struck in the chest by a shell fragment. The items listed here have been in the possession of the family since that date.

    The flag is accompanied by a complete analysis by noted textile authority Fonda Thomsen and is 37.5" on the leading edge and 39.5" on the fly, including the exquisitely woven knotted silk fringe. Constructed on one layer of red silk, with 3.75" wide blue silk ribbon appliqued to each side of the field, to form the St. Andrew's cross. fifteen white silk stars, measuring 2.5" x 2.75" are appliqued to the cross on each side. The cross and stars are attached to the field with white silk thread using a decorative blanket stitch. The fringe has a 0.25" gimp at the top, a 1.5" area of crossed and knotted strands, and 2.75" strands hanging down. The leading edge of the flag is folded to form a 1" hem, which is overlaid on the reverse with a 0.75" wide strip of white wool twill tape. There were originally three pairs of ties formed with 3" wide silk ribbon, with only remnants of the top and middle pair remaining, while the bottom ties show some loss, with soiling. The flag is overall in remarkable condition, with just some small scattered areas of insect damage, with brilliant color. Certainly one of the most attractive Confederate flags we've ever seen. The materials are all of high quality and of domestic, rather than military origin, leading Ms. Thomsen to believe the flag was produced as a presentation piece to either Tilghman or his regiment. Ms. Thomsen further identifies three very similar known flags: Regimental flag of the 4th Texas, Hood's Brigade, dating to 1862 in the collection of the UDC Texas Chapter; Flag of Co. F, 13th Georgia Inf., dating to May 1861 in the Georgia Capital collection; and the flag of the1st Alabama Inf., reportedly made by the ladies of Pike County, Alabama, in the Alabama State Archives. In conclusion, Ms. Thomsen states "this is an excellent flag with a solid background and material evidence that supports the reported history."

    The sword and sword belt harken to Tilghman's U.S. Army background. The accompanying sword is a pre war non-reg foot officer's sword by W. H. Horstmann & Sons, Philadelphia. The sword is in superb untouched condition, the blade retaining much of the luster, with deep crisp etch including scrollwork, arms panoplies, eagle with motto, shields and large "US". The hilt also about perfect, with two branches and floral scrollwork where the branches join the guard as well as at the pommel and quillon. Leather grip about perfect with spring like silver wire flanked by single strand brass wire, which is a bit loose with one break. The obverse side of the blade bears the following engraved legend at the end of the fuller "W. J. M. from Col. Tilghman". Attached to the sword is an intricately woven knot, including a brass hook woven into the back of the Turk's head knot, above the tassel. The sturdy steel scabbard, which is much longer than the sword, bears the following engraved inscription on the reverse between the ring mounts "Sword worn by Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman/ C. S. A. when killed in Battle of/ Champion's Hill, Miss. May 16th 1863". The scabbard is actually more reminiscent of that of a cavalry saber than the sword it now contains, but apparently used this way. Scabbard excellent with untouched dark gray patina and just a few dents on the lower section. Still attached to the upper carrying ring is the shorter of the two sword hangers from the belt, with plain, rather crudely cast and finished, adjusting buckle.

    The sword belt is constructed of two pieces, which were then rolled on the edge and stitched together top and bottom, with about the tiniest, closest stitches we've ever seen. Large heavy brass O rings for attaching the sword slings, the longest of which accompanies the belt, although detached, while the shorter is still attached to the sword. Both with identical, rather crudely-cast and finished plain rectangular adjusting buckles. The belt plate is the two piece interlocking M1839 US, but with a smooth rather than sand like finish on the tongue. Belt overall in excellent untouched condition. The set is accompanied by provenance and lineage documents from the family, as well as Ms. Thomsen's report.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    26th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 9,235

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