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    Description

    THREE FRAGMENTS OF THE LAST CONFEDERATE FLAG TO FLY OVER THE RICHMOND CAPITOL APRIL 3, 1865. Offered here is what must surely be one of the most remarkable surviving Confederate artifacts! What makes this item so very special is the accompanying letter of authentication, dated April 26, 1865, from an officer who was present when the Confederate capitol fell.

    Pressed by Grant's forces just a week before Appomattox, the Rebel government hastily evacuated the city. On the morning of April 3, Union forces entered the city and found two Confederate flags still flying over the Capitol building. One was a Virginia state flag, which was presented intact and subsequently displayed in a series of museums. However, it is well documented that the "Stars and Bars" flag was cut apart and the pieces distributed to the troops as souvenirs. The present example was obtained by Lt. Col. A. B. Laurence, who was Quartermaster of the U. S. Army 24th Corps, a unit that was present in Richmond when the city was taken. On April 26, 1865 he penned the following remarkable letter, which accompanies this lot, on his official stationery:

    "This is to certify -
    That the accompanying is a fragment of the Rebel Flag that floated over the Capitol of the Confederacy in this city, and was taken by the troops of this command.
    The flag - made it is said of 'English Neutrality Bunting' - has been this day cut up and distributed as one of the most significant trophies of this terrible war; and the rope to which the flag was attached is left for the special service of Jeff Davis and all such traitors
    ."

    The fragment itself consists of three pieces, each approximately 3" x 8", of red and white cloth, attached at one corner with an old metal rivet. They exhibit the expected soiling and fraying along the edges where hastily cut from the large flag. The fragment and letter have been attractively framed for display.

    Although there obviously were a number of these distributed at the time, we are aware of no other surviving example (let alone with such wonderful documentation). A 1992 letter to the consignor from Ms. Adele Mitchell of the Stuart - Mosby Society indicates that she "had been searching for fifty years" for such a survivor without success, in the hope of seeing it returned to Richmond. Perhaps the next owner will choose to help realize her wish at last.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2007
    1st Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,702

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