Obverse Detail

Obverse Detail

Obverse Stars

Obverse Stars




U.S. 13 Star Flag - G.A.R "Comrade" Flag

Sub-collection: Guthman / Early American

13 Stars U.S. Grand Army of the Republic "COMRADE" Funeral Flag
This small 13 star wool bunting flag is a Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) funeral flag. The GAR was the principle veteran's organization for the discharged soldiers and sailors from the American Civil War. Formed in 1866, they were originally envisioned as a fraternal organization and attempted to continue the fellowship and camaraderie formed by the veterans' common war experiences.

The initial posts were very militaristic, and caused many of the veterans to eschew from the organization around 1875. In the 1880's the GAR became more fraternal in principle, and social in practice, and the membership began to grow again. The GAR also began lobbying for veterans and widows benefits. There were GAR posts in every state and reached the height of their influence in the 1890's.

Every GAR Post had a flag. They were champions of flag protection, and promotion. The GAR used flags like this example in their rituals, and funeral practices for deceased members. The GAR called their deceased members "COMRADES".

In the 19th century the 13-star American National flag had long been made with the 3-2-3-2-3 star pattern in the canton. What distinguishes this flag is the word "Comrade" imprinted on the 7th stripe. The GAR used flags to drape over the caskets of deceased members, initiating the contemporary practice of covering a casket with a flag.

The exact GAR Post, which used this flag, is not known, but it was in the collection of William H. Guthman. Guthman was a prominent collector, antiques dealer, respected scholar, and published author, who was considered a preeminent authority on American militaria. He was one of the very first collectors to think of militaria as folk art. His business, "Guthman Americana" in Westport, CT, was renowned for Guthman personally guaranteeing the authenticity of his offerings.

Surviving GAR funeral flags are very rare and highly desirable.


• Grand Army of the Republic, 1866-1876.
• William Guthman, Westport, CT, until 1995.
• Acquired by purchase by the Zaricor Flag Collection, 1995.


A Brief History of the Grand Army of the Republic, Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum and Library, 21 June 2013, from: http://garmuslib.org/GARhistory.htm

McConnell, Stuart, Glorious Contentment: The Grand Army of the Republic, 1865-1900, Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1992.

Grand Army of the Republic, Wikipedia, 21 June 2013, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Army_of_the_Republic

Zaricor Flag Collection (ZFC) Archives, 2013.

Image Credits:
Zaricor Flag Collection

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 24
Length of Fly 34


Width of Union/Canton 12.5
Length of Union/Canton 11.5


Comments on Star Measurements 3-2-3-2-3 horizontal rows
Size of Stars 2.5


Width of 1st Stripe 2.25
Width of 3rd Stripe 2.25
Width of 8th Stripe 1.75
Width of Last Stripe 2
Size of Hoist 0.5


Is it framed? no


Number of Stars 13
How are the stars embeded? Sewn
Are there stars on obverse? yes
Are there stars on reverse? yes
Comments on Stars sewn with a zig-zag machine
Star Pattern 3-2-3-2-3 star pattern
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 he word "Comrade" stitched on the 7th stripe


Description of Crest/Emblem "COMRADE" imprinted in black ink on center red stripe


Nation Represented United States


Fabric Wool


Stitching Machine


Type of Weave Plain


Method of Attachment Roped-header


Applique Sides Single Faced = Mirror Image Reverse




Condition Good
Damage Used, Worn Discolored to yellow
Soiled overall
Displayable yes


Date 1890's