Saturday, March 13, 2010

Flag of the 37th NCT on display in Raleigh

I was in Raleigh this past week doing some research for a couple of upcoming projects. I stopped by the state history museum for a couple of minutes and was happy to see that the flag of the 37th North Carolina is now on display – not that the flag of the 18th NCST was bad; I’ve just always been partial to the flag of the 37th NCT. As I stood gazing at the flag, at the few bullet holes and the long tear at the bottom, old questions were brought to mind. Where are the 37th NCT’s other flags? We know that this flag was issued prior to the battle of Fredericksburg in December 1863, and was captured on April 2, 1865, just below Fredericksburg. But there is no way that this flag could have been borne by one of the hardest fighting regiments in the Army of Northern Virginia though all of those battles – Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Mine Run, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House (where a flag was almost captured), North Anna, Cold Harbor, and all of the Petersburg Campaign. Did the 37th NCT get a flag with the rest of the brigade right before Gettysburg? Who captured it? What happened to the flag that replaced that one? What about the regiment’s state flag? Is it still lying in someone’s attic? Will someone walk in with a tattered banner stuffed in some paper bag someday? Or has the flag of the 37th NCT already been discarded like the letters of Colonel Barber? So many unanswered questions.

This is me and my son Nathaniel with the flag.

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