Catalog Image
Catalog Image

Catalog Image


U.S. 29 Star Flag - "Fort Sumter" Pattern

Sub-collection: U.S. 29 Star Flags

U.S. 29 Star Flag 1846 - 1848 "Diamond Pattern Star-field".
This 29 star United States Flag is, with the exception of four stars, nearly identical to the to perhaps the two most famous Diamond Pattern flags in U.S. history, the two similar flags used at Ft. Sumter in Charleston, SC during the Confederate siege in 1861. Both the storm and larger garrison flags were of this pattern. During the American Civil War the flags were auctioned and re-auctioned to raise money for Union charities. After the war's conclusion, the larger diamond pattern flag, the fort's storm flag, was re-hoisted by General Robert Anderson over the bombarded remnants of the fortress on 14 April 1865, the day President Lincoln was assassinated. (See ZFC0751 for the program and address by Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, a prominent educator and outspoken abolitionist).

General Anderson surrendered the fort in 1861 but kept the flags when it became clear the fort was low on amunition, reinforcements unavailable and greatly out numbered by rebel forces and cannon. Keeping the flags raised a great amount of money for the "Union Cause" it was estimated the worth was ten times greater than the value of the fort he surrended. His resistence to the Rebel Demands to surrender inspired the Union that it became symbolic of the rightenous of the Union's moral authority on the issues, end slavery, and maintaining the Union.

Visually appealing and highly desirable, flags with diamond pattern star-fields such as this have never been encountered prior to the existence of 29-star flags. Diamond star pattern flags have never been discovered greater than 37 stars, which were official until 1876.

Flags of this pattern were used by the United States military in the 1847 to 1865 period; this flag dates from the 1847 to 1848 period. An auction catalog sales description of this flag asserts that it was from Lancaster, Pennsylvania and was used in battle. This claim is possible though unlikely as standards carried by U.S. Army from this era were 6 x 6 ft. and made of silk with painted star fields whereas this flag is made of wool bunting. However, there are documented cases of non regulated flags some times found their way onto the field of battle by a misreading of the regulation given this was the first conflict the star and stripes was taken onto the field of battle. Furthermore, combat of the Mexican War had already ceased by 1847 but even here there are numerous cases of flags with lower or higher star counts being used not only in the field of batle but in general by the public and the armed forces in the early to mid part of the century up to the Centinnel period and some beyond though less so with the passage of time due to the efficencies of the industrial revolution and decline in hand made flags. It is more likely that this was a US Army Storm Flag for military posts and garrisons and possibly used during that conflict which wool bunting flags were used by the military for that purpose. The size marking is indicative of a professional manufacturer who maintained a stock of their flags for long-term storage.

It is likely that a Mexican war veteran from Lancaster had returned home with a storm flag as a memento of his service, to which a story had become altered with each retelling. Usually there is a grain of truth to these stories. Diamond pattern flags had most certainly been seen in battle during this period; perhaps the most famous being the two diamond pattern flags used at Ft. Sumter in Charleston, SC during the Confederate siege in 1861. Both the storm and larger garrison flags were of like pattern.

ZFC Significant Flag

• By repute Lancaster County Pennsylvania Militia, 1847-1848.
• Sold via Cowan's Auction, Cincinnati, Ohio, to the Zaricor Flag Collection, 2007.


Collins, Herbert Ridgeway, Threads of History, Americana Recorded on Cloth 1775 to the Present, City of Washington, Smithsonian Press, 1979.

Cooper, Grace Rogers, Thirteen-Star Flags: Keys to Identification, Smithsonian Institution Press, City of Washington, 1973.

Madaus, Howard M.- Whitney Smith, The American Flag: Two Centuries of Concord and Conflict, VZ Publications, Santa Cruz, 2006.

Mastai, Boleslaw and Marie-Louise D'Otrange, The Stars and The Stripes: The American Flag as Art and as History from the Birth of the republic to the Present, Knopf, New York, 1973.

US Diamond Pattern Garrison Flags 1845-1867, Flags of Our Ancestors, 11 November 2011, from:

29 Star Flag - (1847-1848) (U.S.), Flags of the World, 11 November 2011, from:

Image Credits:
Zaricor Flag Collection

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 73
Length of Fly 98


Width of Union/Canton 44.5
Length of Union/Canton 40


Comments on Star Measurements 1-3-5-7-5-3-1 horizontal rows with accent star in each corner
Size of Stars 5.25


Width of 1st Stripe 6
Width of 3rd Stripe 6
Width of 8th Stripe 5.25
Width of Last Stripe 6
Size of Hoist 3


Is it framed? no


Number of Stars 29
How are the stars embeded? Sewn
Are there stars on obverse? yes
Are there stars on reverse? yes
Comments on Stars The majority of the stars are arranged in rows oriented on a centerline and forming a diamond or lozenge. The remaining stars are placed to accent the diamond in the hoist & fly edges and corners.


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


Description of Crest/Emblem Star field is a diamond pattern


Nation Represented United States


Fabric Wool


Stitching Hand


Type of Weave Plain


Comments on Method of Attachmen Eyelet or grommet through header
Method of Attachment Whip-stitched


Applique Sides Single Faced = Mirror Image Reverse


Condition Fair
Damage Used, worm, torn with fabric missing
Displayable yes


Date 1846