Obverse
Obverse

Obverse

Reverse

Reverse

PA flag In Frame

PA flag In Frame

Obverse before conservation

Obverse before conservation

Book Scan

Book Scan

Provenance

Provenance

ZFC2509

U.S. 24 Star Pennsylvania Militia color 1822-1836

Sub-collection: Soldiers & Sailors Military Museum & Memorial

U.S. 24 Star Pennsylvania Militia color 1822 - 1836 - 6 Point Silver Stars.
The Civil War History connected to this flag makes it one of the more interesting from that war. An unknown Pennsylvania militia unit took what was then a 30 to 40 year old militia color into battle against Rebel forces that captured the colors either from an unknown militia unit in the first year of the American Civil War or was a result of all the local militia units that were activated during the Gettysburg Campaign of 1863. The unit, time and place of its capture are unknown.

Later in the conflict, April 2, 1865, the 54th Pa. Volunteers broke through the siege lines around Petersburg, Va. at Fort Gregg. During their movement within Confederate lines they recaptured this flag in Petersburg from the Rebels. The fighting at Ft. Gregg was heavy, the 54th lost 20 men in the assault.

Originally given to the museum by the widow of J. A. Heckert, a member of the 54th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. The accompanying provenance states,"Old Glory. This flag was captured and recaptured during the Civil War between the North and South from 1861 to 1865. The present owner prizes it highly as a relic for which thousands of lives were sacrificed to keep it unsullied. It was captured from a Pennsylvania Regiment by the Confederates during some engagement and taken to Petersburg, Virginia for safe keeping when it was recaptured by a Comrade of my company "C", 54th PA, Volunteer Regiment after the evacuation of the city by the Confederates in April, 1865. The first Union troops to enter the city was a portion of the 24th Army Corps Commanded by General O. E. C. Ord., of which I was a member. The flag was presented to me by Nelson Meyers in 1869. The Number of the Regiment was defaced when recaptured. But its condition shows that it passed through many hard fought battles as it bears many Honorable marks. J. A. Heckert. 54th PA Vol. Inf. Regt. Author of the Story. Presented to Soldiers Memorial By the Widow Mrs. J. A. Heckert".

It was there when the institution was created by the Grand Army of the Republic in the 1890s to recognize the sacrifice, valor and patriotism of the Civil War service of soldiers and sailors from Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Later the institution transformed its mission into honoring all the men and women of Pennsylvania who have served any branch of the United States military, in any conflict.

As an interesting anecdote to the recent history of this flag Ben Zaricor recounts his first visit to Soldier and Sailor's Museum around 1997; "Upon arriving at the museum I was invited into one of the large rooms on the first or basement floor. I was shown a United States flag and told it was a flag from the Civil War 1861 - 65. I looked very quickly at the number of stars on the canton and knew that there were fewer stars on the flag than should have been for the period of the American Civil War which would be 33 to 36 stars. I said this to the gentlemen in the room and proposed that we count the stars together. We did and it was revealed there were only 24 stars in a circle far fewer than a Civil War flag make it a much older U.S. flag than it was thought. That was the last time I saw this flag until the auction we acquired it in October 2007.

When the Julia Auction House offered the flag for sale it was identified as a 25 star flag and not a 24 star flag. I discovered the error after I had purchased the flag and was going over in my mind the events of the auction and I decided to count the stars (my second time) in the photo in the catalog and for the second time in ten years I had discovered an error in the dating of the flag."

It should be noted that there are stories and some documentation of other accounts where older flags, some dating back to the American Revolution, were taken by Militia units for use in the early part of the American Civil War. To be able to document a surviving example is rare.

Companion piece to ZFC3195.

Exhibition History:
Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, 1908 to 2007

University of California - Santa Cruz
Board of Councilors Meeting, Rare Flags Exhibit
Santa Cruz, CA
7 June 2012


Publication History:
Saures, Richard A., Advance The Colors: Pennsylvania Civil War Battle Flags, Harrisburg, The Capitol Preservation Committee, 1987. P.5.


Provenance:
• Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 1822 to 1861-1863
• Capture by unidentified Confederate soldiers 1861-1863 to 1865
• Recaptured by Sgt Nelson Meyers, 54th PA. Vol. Infantry, 2 April 1865
• Gifted to Quartermaster Sgt. Josiah. A. Heckert, 54th PA. Vol. Infantry, 1869
• By descent in the Heckert family until donated by widow of J.A. Heckert, 1890s
• Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, until deaccession, 2007
• Sold via James D. Julia Auctions of Fairfield, ME to Zaricor Flag Collection, 2007.


Sources:



Saures, Richard A., Advance The Colors: Pennsylvania Civil War Battle Flags, Harrisburg, The Capitol Preservation Committee, 1987.

Museum, The Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum,10 November 2011, from: http://soldiersandsailorshall.org/museum.html

Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), Wikipedia, 10 November 2011, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Army_of_the_Republic

Third Battle of Petersburg, Wikipedia, 9 November 2011, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Battle_of_Petersburg

54th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Wikipedia, 9 November 2011, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/54th_Pennsylvania_Infantry

Image Credits:
Zaricor Flag Collection
Mastai Flag Collection

CSG
MLC
MLF



Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 48
Length of Fly 72

Stars

Comments on Star Measurements 24 six point stars, single ring pattern

Stripes

Size of Hoist 2.5

Frame

Is it framed? yes
Frame Height 52.5
Frame Length 84
Comments on Frame TPA Frame
Fluted Gold anodized aluminum

Stars

Number of Stars 24
How are the stars embeded? Painted
Are there stars on obverse? yes
Are there stars on reverse? yes
Comments on Stars Silver gilt stars faded dark grey
Star Pattern single ring around a cartouche

Stripes

Number of Stripes 13
Color of Top Stripe Red
Color of Bottom Stripe Red
Has a Blood Stripe? no

Crest/Emblem

Description of Crest/Emblem PA militia cartouche

Nationality

Nation Represented United States

Fabric

Fabric Silk
Comments on Fabric fractured

Stitching

Stitching Hand

Thread

Type of Thread Needs Analysis
Thread Material Needs Analysis

Weave

Type of Weave Plain

Attachment

Comments on Method of Attachmen Sleeve is blue
Method of Attachment Sleeve

Applica

Applique Sides Double Sided = Two sides different

PDF Files
Gallery Copy
Media PDF
Silent Witnesses to History

Documentation

Drawings








Research Documents




















Condition

Condition Fair
Damage Used, worn, fracturing.
Trending to good
Silk has numerous tears. Much of fly end of flag is missing. Canton is intact; however, as can be seen in photographs, several large chips of paint from central device are missing. Painted areas on canton are glued to a backing piece of paper in shadowbox.
Displayable yes

Date

Date 1822

Exhibits

Exhibition Copy Flag was formerly Displayed at the Soldiers and Sailors Museum in Pittsburgh, PA

University of California - Santa Cruz
Board of Councilors Meeting, 7 June 2012

U.S. 24 Star
Pennsylvania Militia Color
Capture/Recapture Civil War

Date: 1822

Media: Silk, oil and silver-gilt paint.

Comment: During the American Civil War an unidentified Pennsylvania militia
unit took what was already a 40 year old, 24 star militia national color into battle
against rebel forces. The Confederates captured this color, either in the first year
of the war or when Pennsylvania militia units were again activated during the
Gettysburg Campaign of 1863. The unit, time, and place of its capture are not
recorded.
Later at the Siege of Petersburg, on 2 April 1865, the 54th Pa. Volunteer
Infantry broke through the siege lines around Petersburg, VA at Fort Gregg. During
their movement within Confederate lines, Sergeant Nelson Meyers Company
"C" of the 54th recaptured this flag from the Rebels, and he returned the color
to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania where it was ultimately presented to the
Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum, Pittsburgh, PA. Subsequently, it was
identified as third oldest Pennsylvania Militia color extant. Of special note are the
flags 24 silver-gilt, six-pointed stars, a rarity on surviving flags from this era.
It should be noted that there are stories and other period accounts of other
similar older flags, some dating back to the American Revolution, that were taken
by Militia units for use in the American Civil War. To be able to document a
surviving example is extremely rare.

Provenance: Acquired in 2007 by the Zaricor Flag Collection (ZFC2509), from
the collection of The Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum, Pittsburgh,
PA; via James D. Julia Auctions, Fairfield, Maine. www.FlagCollection.com

Rare Flags Exhibit

Santa Cruz, CA, June 7, 2012: The Zaricor Flag Collection exhibited 34 flags and artifacts at the University of California Santa Cruz Campus for the Board of Councilors Meeting.

PDF for Publications
Advance the Colors, Vol.I, p.5

Publications

Publication Images
Cover

Cover

P. 5

P. 5