Thursday, September 13, 2007

Where have all of the flags gone?

I had an email this evening from Russ Lane, a descendant of a member of the 17th NCT. He was asking about the battle flag of the 17th NCT. I pulled out Glenn Dedmondt’s The Flags of Civil War North Carolina and flipped to the page with a drawing of the Second National carried by the 17th NCT. Dedmondt’s book is considered the standard reference source on the subject.

I like the book. However, it lacks a lot. The information for the flag of the 17th NCT says that "There is little left of the 2nd National flag used by the 17th Regiment. The tattered remains are 55" along the hoist. The flag was hidden by Pvt. Able Thomas and taken home with him after the surrender." I want more. When was the flag made? When was it issued? Was Thomas the regimental color bearer? What battles did the flag see? When was it donated to the Museum of History in Raleigh?

I went to the Museum of History’s web page, but the flag was not listed in the artifacts search. I did find reference to the flag of the Pasquotank Guards, which would become Company L, 17th NCT. This flag, a fragment of which is pictured here, is not mentioned in Dedmont’s book.
All of this leads me to this: we need a detailed history of North Carolina’s war-time flags. I’ll give you three questions that I’ve yet been able to find an answer to. Maybe this will help uncover some more material.

One. Did the 37th NCT get a state issued flag, where is it, and what flag did the 37th NCT carry between November 1861 and December 1862, when they were issued the ANV battle flag with the white battle honors?

Two: Did the 58th NCT get a state issue flag and what happened to it?

Three: Were the 2nd and 3rd North Carolina Mounted Volunteers (US) issued flags and what became of them after the war?

I know that researching flags is not easy. I’ve researched these two regiments for a decade, and I’ve written about the 37th NCT, and I am currently working on a book about the 58th NCT. I understand how important a flag was to the men in a regiment. I just wish we had some more material concerning flags.


Chris Graham said...


On the Museum's artifact search page, type in the accession number "1914.260.1". That's the 17th NCT 2nd National. Unfortunately, you won't get any more information that what you already have. But there is an old photographs.

Tom Belton, the military history curator at the museum has been working on a book about North Carolina's Civil War flags for some time now. Should be nearing completion. I know that his histories of the flags will contain the type of information you are looking for.

You can call him at the museum, and tell him Chris Graham referred you. He might be able to tell you more right away.

Chris Graham

Keith Snipes said...


Your writing of the missing state flag for the 37th North Carolina compels me to ask about another of the regiment's apparently missing banners - the 1863 Richmond Depot issue with the blue battle honors.

Mr. Glenn Dedmondt's The Flags of Civil War North Carolina doesn't mention such a banner existing. Yet, his book does confirm that each of Lane's other four regiments had carried such a flag. The only regimental standard discussed for the 37th North Carolina is the earlier issued Branch/Lane brigade banner.

Any assistance will be kindly appreciated and fully credited.

Best Regards,

Keith Snipes