Canton +, Vertical
Canton +, Vertical

Canton +, Vertical

Canton +, Horizontal

Canton +, Horizontal





Catalog Image

Catalog Image

Gov. Roswell Farnham

Gov. Roswell Farnham

Lt. Col Roswell Farnham, 12 Vt. Vol. Inf.

Lt. Col Roswell Farnham, 12 Vt. Vol. Inf.


U.S. 35 Star Flag, "Farnham".

Sub-collection: Mastai - Early American Flags

U.S. 35 Star Flag, "Farnham"
This large, hand sewn, wool, 35-star flag is from the American Civil war. Thirty-five-star flags were in use between 1863 and 1865. This flag is both inscribed and embroidered on the upper hoist over the stenciled size identification "10 x 15", with the name "Farnham".

While 35 star flags are not rare, those with identified owner names are significantly less common. This flag was researched and identified by the Zaricor Flag Collection's Chief Curator, H. Michael Madaus. Madaus is a noted flag scholar and an expert on 19th century flags. He attributed the flag to Roswell Farnham, a Vermont attorney who was a Lieutenant Colonel that commanded the 12th Vermont Vol. Infantry during the American Civil War. Afterwards Roswell Farnham served as the 38th governor of Vermont.

Roswell Farnham was born in Boston Massachusetts on July 23, 1827, and then was later raised in Bradford Vermont. He attended Bradford Academy, and the University of Vermont, which he graduated from in 1849. After graduating he became a schoolteacher who taught in Vermont and Canada while studying for the bar. Farnham passed the bar in 1857.

At the commencement on the American Civil War, Farnham was an Ensign (2nd Lieutenant) in the local militia unit, the Bradford Guards. He was incorporated into the First Vermont Infantry Regiment, one of the original regiments accepted for 90 days of service. He served from May to August of 1861. In 1862 Roswell Farnham was re-commissioned as a Captain of Company H of the newly organized 12th Vermont Volunteer Infantry. This was a 9-month regiment in which he served from October of 1862 to July of 1863. During this time Farnham rose in grade to Lt. Col and commanded the regiment.

It is likely that while Farnham acquired this flag in July of 1863, near the end of his service as Lt. Col. with the 12th Vermont Volunteer Infantry. The 35-star flag became official on the 4th of July 1863 just before Farnham's service was done. In the summer of 1863 the 12th Vermont Volunteer Infantry was serving with the Union Army of Potomac. During the Gettysburg Emergency, between June 25th and July 1st of 1863, the 12th Vermont Volunteer Infantry marched towards Gettysburg, but were assigned to guard Union Army supply trains in Westminster Maryland, before reaching their destination. On July 4th of 1863 they were detailed to guard Confederate prisoners taken at Gettysburg, and escort them to Baltimore Maryland for incarceration. Once the 12th Vermont Volunteer Infantry was done they were sent to camp in Brattleboro Vermont. They were released from Federal service on July 14th of 1863. This flag is thought to have been the Camp Flag used by the 12th Vermont Volunteer Infantry at Brattleboro. Farnham retained this flag as a memento of his service.

After his service Farnham returned to practice law, and became the general counsel for the Vermont Copper Company. He entered politics, and served in the Vermont State Senate, and then later was elected the 38th governor of Vermont. He continued to practice law until his passing in 1903.

There are many "dead" flags (military surplus flags), from the era of the American Civil War. A flag like the "Farnham" flag is significant in that it has a name that can be linked to a soldier and his story in the Civil War, and thus keeps the flag alive for posterity.

• Lt. Colonel Roswell Farnham (later governor) of Vermont, 1863..
• Retained as a memento of service until passing, 1903.
• By descent in Farnham family.
• Acquired by Mr. & Mrs. Boleslaw & Marie-Louise D'Otrange Mastai, New York City, and Amagansett, NY, The Mastai Collection, until 2002.
• Sold via Sotheby's Auction in New York City to the Zaricor Flag Collection, 2002.


Vermont Governor Roswell Farnham, National Governors Association, 23 June 2013, from:

Roswell Farnham Papers, Special Collections, Bailey/Howe Library, University of Vermont Libraries Special Collections, 23 June 2013, from:

Farnham, Roswell, Search For Soldiers, The Civil War, National Park Service, 23 June 2013, from:

Roswell Farnham, Wikipedia, from 23 June 2013, from:

CAMP FLAG, Dictionary of Vexillology, Flags of the World, 23 June 2103:

Roswell Farnham, Find A Grave, Inc., 23 June 2013, from:

Zaricor Flag Collection (ZFC) Archives, 2013.

Image Credits:
Zaricor Flag Collection
Find A Grave

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 115.5
Length of Fly 175


Width of Union/Canton 62
Length of Union/Canton 76.5


Size of Stars 7


Width of 1st Stripe 5
Width of 3rd Stripe 5
Width of Last Stripe 5


Is it framed? no


Number of Stars 35
How are the stars embeded? Double Applique
Are there stars on obverse? yes
Are there stars on reverse? yes
Star Field Design
  • Rectilinear - Horizontal


Number of Stripes 13
Color of Top Stripe Red
Color of Bottom Stripe Red
Has a Blood Stripe? no
Comments on Stripes stripe under the canton is 4.5 inches.


Nation Represented United States


Fabric Wool
Comments on Fabric Bunting


Method of Attachment Headings & Grommets


Applique Sides Single Faced = Mirror Image Reverse


All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
Research Documents
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
Public Copy & Signs
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.


Condition Good
Damage Used
Displayable yes


Date 1863-1865