Civil war flag... with 46 stars

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by Carolynn, May 2, 2017.

  1. Carolynn

    Carolynn New Member

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    We are a small museum and as we put up this flag we noticed some extra stars. What we know about this flag is that it was presented to James Madison Denison by Company B of the 20th Regiment Volunteer Infantry of the State of Iowa when he was presented from First Lieutenant to the Caption of the Regiments. He joined the Union army August 25th, 1862, and was discharged on July 6th, 1865.
    What we can't answer is why it has 46 stars.
    Any ideas? It looks like a battle flag?
    Any information would be helpful.
     
  2. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

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    Greetings, Carolyn!

    I am NOT an expert when it comes to "vintage" or "antique" U.S. Flags. Most of what I know about Flags I've learned in these USA-FLAG-SITE Forums!

    In all probability, the Flag in question was a "presentation" Flag that was presented to James Madison Denison during a "reunion" of some kind. A reunion of the men in the Unit itself, or maybe a reunion of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.). The U.S. Flag officially had 46 Stars from July 4th, 1907 to July 3rd, 1912. Two more Stars were added to the Flag on July 4th, 1912 for New Mexico (47th State) and Arizona (48th State).

    The 50th Anniversary of the American Civil War would have been between 1911 and 1915.

    It looks like it is a "printed" Flag that has a "pole hem" and decorative fringe on the three outside hems, so it was probably an "indoor" ceremonial Flag, or perhaps a "parade" Flag. I can't tell from the picture, but due to the "strange" arrangement of the 46 Stars and the "odd" placement of the two star-less voids, it might have started out as a 48-Star Flag. But, if it is a printed Flag, it's kind of difficult to make two Stars disappear! Also, I can't tell if the white text in the 4th red stripe is printed as part of the stripe, or if it was sewn (appliqued) ON the stripe.

    As I stated at the beginning, I am NOT an expert in this area. BUT... We DO have some members who ARE experts. I hope they'll check in and give you much more definitive answers to your questions! They will probably (most likely) ask if you can provide more pictures of the Flag. They'll be interested in seeing some "close-ups" that show details of the Flag's construction such as the Stars, the Stripes, any seams, the pole hem, how the fringe was attached. If the pictures are clear enough, they might even be able to tell you what fabric(s) the Flag is made of!

    In the meantime, I'll post a link here to a website belonging to one of our members. His name is Jeff Bridgman and he is an acknowledged expert when it comes to "antique" U.S. Flags! You'll be able to visit his website and look around AND there is a "contact" page so that you can get in touch with him directly.

    http://jeffbridgman.com/

    http://jeffbridgman.com/html/contactus.htm

    It looks like a VERY nice antique Flag!

    By The Way: What is your Museum and where is it located???

    PLEASE let us know how it turns out!

    Good Luck!

    Robin Hickman
    "Your friendly Neighborhood Flag Man"
    Eugene, Oregon, USA.
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  3. Carolynn

    Carolynn New Member

    We know it is silk, and I wish I had thought to take better pictures before we put it up. Your answer is what I was expecting, the only concern was the donation from 1946 said it was presented to the First Lieutenant at the time of his promotion in 1865, which I don't think the case, and he died in the 1870s. So it must have been presented to his family. I honestly cannot see if we are missing 2 stars or if they never existed. They are sewn on and then has a paint applied over it to make it gold.
    If anyone is interested in looking in person, the flag is being displayed at the Lake County Courthouse Museum, in Lakeport, CA.
     
  4. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

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    Hello, again, Carolynn!

    Thanks for checking back in with additional details about your Flag!

    What size is it? Would the Lake County Courthouse Museum be willing/able to "take it down" in order to take better pictures of it? I've never dealt with a framed Flag in a Museum, so I don't know how "complex" the procedure might be.

    As I wrote in my first reply, I am NOT an expert in this particular area (and I don't play one on TV!). I really urge you and/or the "powers that be" at the Lake County Courthouse Museum to get in touch with Jeff Bridgman to see if you can get some better (more accurate) advice from a TRUE expert!

    For those who might want to learn more about the "Lake County Courthouse Museum", or maybe go for a visit, click on the link below!


    http://lakecounty.com/place/lake-county-historic-courthouse-museum/

    Thank You for staying in touch!

    Robin Hickman
    "Your Friendly Neighborhood Flag Man"
    Eugene, Oregon, USA.
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  5. Carolynn

    Carolynn New Member

    We just put it up, so it will be there for about a year. o_O Like I said I regret not taking pictures sooner.
    The flag is massive, 72" x 72"
    Here are some better photos:
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  6. Carolynn

    Carolynn New Member

    I'll send an email to Jeff! Thank you!
     
  7. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

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    Hi, Carolyn!


    Thanks for posting the pics!

    Yes, it can be a little "tricky" getting a good photo through glass! And, Yes, 72"x72" is a really BIG Flag!

    I didn't notice it before but with the new pics I can see that your historical/antique U.S. Flag has DANCING Stars!!! VERY Cool!

    Most U.S. Flags that we see have all their Stars with a single point "straight up". With "dancing" stars, one column (or row) has its Stars canted/tilted slightly to one side and the next column (or row) has its Stars canted/tilted slightly to the opposite side. When I say one side or opposite side, I mean similar to clockwise/counterclockwise.

    Good Luck in finding out more about your Museum's Flag!

    Robin
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