Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Flag of the 52nd NCT to be preserved

Good morning folks! I received this email yesterday evening from the folks at the North Carolina Department of Culture Resources. It seems that our friends in the 26th NCT Reactivated are not only raising money for the preservation of the flag of the 58th NCT, but are also now working on the flag of the 52nd NCT. Check out the press release below.

The 26th Regiment N.C. Troops, Reactivated, Funds Conservation of Battle of Gettysburg Confederate Flag

The N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh is home to one of the nation's largest collections of Confederate flags. However, conservation of these banners requires expensive, specialized textile treatment. To help fund this need, the museum has formed a thriving partnership with the 26thRegiment N.C. Troops, Reactivated, the state's largest Civil War re-enactment group.

The 26th Regiment recently unveiled the second flag it has helped conserve: the battle flag of the 52nd Regiment N.C. Troops. Carried into the Battle of Gettysburg, the banner was captured during the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble charge on July 3, 1863, by a soldier from the 14th Conn. Volunteers. The regiment's colors were sent to the U.S. War Department in Washington, D.C., and returned to North Carolina in 1905. It is currently on exhibit in A Call to Arms: North Carolina Military History Gallery.

"Our goal is to be able to raise enough money each year to restore at least one battle flag from the museum's collection," says Skip Smith, colonel of the 26th Regiment. "Simply put, we feel it is our duty to preserve for future generations these battle flags that guided many a Tar Heel boy.

"The organization's first flag project resulted in conservation of 26th Regiment N.C. Troops' colors that were captured at the Battle of Burgess' Mill near Petersburg, Va., on Oct. 27, 1864. A third banner is undergoing conservation, and funds for a fourth flag are being raised by the group through a statewide grassroots effort.

"We are most grateful for the conservation funding provided by the 26th," says Tom Belton, curator of military history. "Their help is more essential than ever." Each flag costs approximately $7,500 to conserve, and the 26th Regiment is covering the entire cost. Now other Civil War remembrance organizations are joining the 26th Regiment by adopting additional museum flags for conservation projects.

The 52nd Regiment, part of Brig. Gen. James Johnston Pettigrew's Brigade, suffered most of its losses on July 3, the final and bloodiest day at Gettysburg. The regiment had 46 men killed in action and 64 wounded. Another 140 were wounded and captured, and 91 nonwounded soldiers were captured.

"There are many members in our unit who had ancestors in the 52nd Regiment who fought under this flag during the Battle of Gettysburg," adds Smith, whose organization believes conserving battle flags is the best way to leave something behind for generations to follow.

"Although we could raise money to restore a uniform coat, it would only honor one person," he states. "A battle flag, on the other hand, represents the whole regiment and the sacrifices of all the men who marched under the folds of that flag. We are proud to partner with the North Carolina Museum of History to preserve these important artifacts." The colors of the 52nd and other regiments are being conserved in preparation for the N.C. Civil War Sesquicentennial. From 2011 to 2015, the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources will be presenting programs in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in North Carolina.

Susan Friday Lamb
Public Information Officer
N.C. Museum of History
Office: 919-807-7943
Fax: 919-733-8655

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