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    Description

    Ultra Rare and Historic Signal Corps "Battle Flag" from the 1862 Peninsular Campaign. Items pertaining to the Signal Corps in the Civil War are exceedingly scarce and eagerly sought. This Signal Corps "Battle Flag" is among the rarest and most compelling of all corps items and only a handful of examples exist today. Authorized by Gen. George McClellan in General Orders on March 24, 1862, these distinctive signal flags, with a star replacing the usual square in the center, were presented to signal officers mentioned in reports for gallantry in action. The name of the battle was placed in the top point of the star, with subsequent actions listed clockwise in the other points. They were, of course, carried with pride by those officers throughout their service. This fine specimen is constructed from black cotton and measures 48" x 48." A white star measuring 30" from point-to-point is in the center, with the name "WEST POINT" carefully stenciled in black 1½" letters in the uppermost point. The engagement of West Point, Va. was part of McClellan's famed Peninsular Campaign and was fought May 7, 1862. With the flag is a wonderful, hand lettered 7" x 10" card that reads "STAR SIGNAL FLAG/ Used In/ McClellans'-Army/ On The Peninsula./ Presented By J. L. Pray,/ White House, O." The tag has only a minor chip in one corner and a slight tear, but is striking and very displayable.

    John L. Pray began his service on September 28, 1861 as a private in Battery H, 1st Ohio Light Artillery. On January 1, 1864 he was transferred into the Signal Corps and was soon with the Army of the Potomac in the field outside of Petersburg at "Avery House," Signal Station "D." Pray's photo appears in the massive history of the Signal Corps in the Civil War published after the conflict, along with a lengthy article he wrote about life at Avery House Station. His name also appears on messages sent from the station that appear in the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion. Pray was discharged at Ft. Sedgwick, Va. in August, 1865. The practice of listing battle honors on these flags was discontinued in February, 1863 as it was becoming "too cumbersome."Overall condition of this rarity is very sound with a couple minor tears at the fly end and a small section missing at the top corner. It retains most of the ties that secured it to its shaft. The colors have mellowed and there is some staining on the star, but the West Point battle honor is very clear. A most impressive and historic flag that would be very easy to frame and display. Almost impossible to find in even the best collections.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2008
    20th-21st Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,121

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