Want to restore a 1863 Confederate Flag

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by jbkelly, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. jbkelly

    jbkelly New Member

    I have a 19" x 32", 11 star, Confederate flag captured in 1863 after the battle of Vicksburg. It appears to be made from silk. Does anyone know someone who could restore this flag. It has no serious damage. It just needs some re-stitching and, because it was folded for almost 150 years, it has creases that it would be nice to remove. I live in Minnesota, near Minneapolis, but I guess I could ship it anywhere.
  2. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Here are two places to explore. If you get an email address send them a couple of photos and ask them what ballpark costs they would estimate. For a proper job on a silk flag I would guess you are talking $5 to $10,000 minimum. But if you do have an authentic flag, it would be worth it to have it properly conserved.

    First choice:
    Textile Preservation Associates
    18943 Keedysville Rd
    Keedysville, MD 21756

    Second choice, but may be defunct:
    Museum of American Textile History
    491 Dutton Street
    Lowell, MA 01854
  3. jbkelly

    jbkelly New Member

    Thanks for the help. I'll give them a call.
  4. AmericaHurrah

    AmericaHurrah Member

    That size is exactly that of the hundreds of common fakes that flood the marketplace. You should certainly get it looked at before proceeding.

    Maybe send an email to: info@jeffbridgman.com
  5. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Dear jbkelly:

    If the flag is a fake, Textile Preservation Associates would be the first to tell you it's a piece of cr4p. But I agree that Jeff Bridgman knows his flags, too.

    If you already have photos, please post them here and we can give you an opinion that is free of charge! A close up of the stars will be most helpful.


    ps: The flake flags that flooded eBay a few years ago were nearly all cotton. You can see many of them at:
    eBay Guides - SAVAGE-STATION Fake Civil War Flag Spotting Guide
    (If the flag has "battle honors" that appear to have been rubber-stamped onto the bars, don't waste your time taking a picture. Just burn the flag, or sue the jerk who sold it to you.)
  6. jbkelly

    jbkelly New Member


    I did not get this flag from the Internet. I found this flag in a shoe box. I knew that there were 7 5" x 7" glass negatives in the box, and I looked around until I found them. These negatives were owned by a neighbor of my parents. When she went into a nursing home, my mother was appointed as her guardian. There was an American Flag (45 stars - 12" x 17", silk), a 2nd flag I had never looked at that closely (the confederate 19" x 32" silk flag), about a dozen envelopes - all addressed to the neighbor at two different addresses, and 7 glass negatives.

    The reason I looked for the negatives is because my son's father-in-law is trading some labor with me. I am a computer consultant and helped him with some malware problems he was having. He has a scanner that can take large format negatives, and my scanner can only handle small formats. He offered to scan the glass negatives for me.

    A hobby I have had, for the last 10 years, is finding and restoring old family photographs. To help identify people in the photographs, I also took up geneology. I have restored more than 1000 photographs and have become quite good at it. So it was the glass plate negatives that I was interested in and had never closely inspected the two flags.

    The confederate flag has a tag on it. Just reading that tells a lot.

    Here are the photos I have taken of the flag.

    I believe the tag reads as follows:

    Front of Tag:

    Article: Rebel Flag
    Captured by
    Contributed by Lieut Jas Casler

    Back of Tag:

    (In pencil) Headquarter flag of the 1st Arkansas
    Confederate Reg

    (In pen - written over "1st") 3

    (In pen - under pencil entry) Captured at Sunny Side
    1863 after Siege of Vicsburg

    Attached Files:

  7. jbkelly

    jbkelly New Member

    I posted a replay with photos, but it is not appearing on the site.
  8. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    I posted a replay with photos, but it is not appearing on the site.

    It's there now. The spam filter grabbed it for some reason.


    Peter Ansoff
  9. coasterville

    coasterville Member

    Don't worry about it not appearing right away. This forum has some sort of filter that catches things to send to the moderators before it lets the post go through. You will usually get a message to that effect right after you post.

    It's not even your low post count that triggers it, though that might be a factor.

    Your flag looks beautiful, but note that I am in no way, shape, or form qualified to render any kind of opinion.
  10. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Dear jbkelley:

    That looks like a late 19th century flag to me. And by "late" I mean second half. That could be from the 1860's. :cool:

    Do you have any idea what museum that flag was de-accessed from? It could have been a post of the Grand Army of the Republic and when that post was broken up after the death of the last veterans the artifacts may have been sold off or given to relatives of the veterans.

    What you want to do to this flag is "conserve" it, not restore it. Even if it was a flag from the 1890's it is in excellent condition and needs no "restoration". Textile Preservation Associates ought to get this to stabilize and frame it for you. However, you may get more info on the Arkansas connection if you contact the US Civil War Flag forum. You can find them at:
    The Civil War Flags Message Board - Message Index

    You cannot post pictures onto that CW site, but you CAN post the link to the photographs you posted on THIS site. :cool:

    Good luck with that - I would certainly like to see what those guys at the Civil War Message Board say.

  11. jbkelly

    jbkelly New Member

    Thanks for all the information. I have a few more questions for you.

    I am glad to know the difference between "conserve" & "restore". The two contacts for "conservation" have been called and messages left, but neither one has called me back yet. Do you still estimate that the "conservation" will cost between $5,000.00 & $10,000?

    Before my mother aquired it, this flag was in the possession of Leutenant James Casler's granddaughter. It turns out that in 1895, James Casler is living in St. Paul, MN with wife, his two sons, his daughter in law, and his grand daughter. If the flag had been donated to a GAR it might have been one in St. Paul, MN.

    Do you have any idea of what its value might be?
  12. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    No. Your flag is in much better condition than your verbal description led me to believe. Stabilizing the fabric, stitching it to a neutral cloth background, and archivally framing it should cost in the $1500 to $2500 range.

    It is an odd variant of the First National Flag of the Confederacy. Authentic CSA first national flags are usually priced at $15,000 to $20,000, or more if they are associated with an individual or regiment. I don't know what the extra stripes on the flag would do to the value. And we don't often see fringe on CSA national flags. This is where examination by flag fabric experts would help. If your flag went on eBay as-is I doubt you would get more than a couple of thousand dollars. Get a certification from Textile Preservation Associates and you have a five-figure artifact.

  13. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin


    I've taken the liberty of moving this thread to the "Flag Identification and Collecting" section, and leaving a redirect in the old location.

    Best to all,

    Peter Ansoff
    Forum Admin

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