|Description and Photograph||
The flag of the Confederacy rose and fell in only four years. It arose over a prosperous, peaceful nation whose mothers sent their husbands and sons to die, if need be, under its folds. And die they did, from the plains of Manassas to the fields of Pennsylvania, from Shiloh to Nashville, from the Wilderness to Appomattox.
The flag the Confederacy adopted as its National Standard on March 4, 1861 was first raised on Capitol Hill in Montgomery, Alabama. The honorable Jefferson Davis, ex-U.S. Secretary of War and new president of the Confederacy, invited Letitia Christian Tyler to raise the first official flag of the new Confederacy. Miss Tyler had been born in the White House, the capitol of the United States. She was the granddaughter of ex-U.S. President John Tyler. The seven star flag Miss Tyler raised that day has come to be known as the First National Confederate Flag, or the Stars and Bars. The circle of seven stars in the canton represented the seven Southern States that had seceded up until that time: South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. Lincoln’s illegal demand that the Southern States aid in subjugating her sister states forced another six states to secede. Virginia on April 17th, Arkansas, May 6th, Tennessee, May 7th, North Carolina, May 20th, Missouri, August 5th, and Kentucky on November 5th. A star was added to the flag for each new state that joined the Southern Confederacy.
The Confederate First National Flag shown here bears ten appliquéd stars on each side. This ten star pattern allows us to date its time of manufacture rather specifically. The tenth state to secede was Tennessee on May 7, 1861, followed by North Carolina, May 20, 1861. This dates the flag’s manufacture to the period between May 7th when Tennessee seceded and May 20, 1861 when North Carolina seceded.
Most Confederate First National Flags were patriotic flags; flags meant for parade and party, but this one was a military flag, and was likely one of the many flags presented to departing companies and regiments in the spring of 1861. Its 32 by 58 inch size indicates that it was probably a company flag, as regimental presentation flags tended to be larger, but not always. This flag’s recorded history shows it having been captured in August of 1862 by H. K. White.* The was displayed in H. K. White’s military outfitter store in New York until 1961 when it was purchased by Wendell Lang’s father for his own collection. Wendell Lang had it in his collection until 1990. The flag was later owned by Mike Miner who had it framed.
The flag was originally well secured to the flagstaff by ten iron tacks. When the flag was purchased by Mr. Lang, one star had been removed, presumably as a souvenir at its time of capture. A single reproduction star has been put back in its place. At the same time the flag was conserved and archivally mounted.
*Henry Kirke White, (1837-1923)
H. K. White was born in 1837. In 1855 his sister, Frances Chester White, married Marcellus Hartley. At the age of twenty-four, White enlisted in the 71st New York Volunteers and fought at First Manassas and seven days later mustered out. White then transferred to the 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteers. The 62nd spent the fall in Camp near Fort Corcoran, part of the Defenses of Washington, D.C., and spent the winter near Fall's Church, Virginia. Moving to the Virginia Peninsular in the spring, the 62nd served in the Seven Days Battles and then fought again at 2nd Manassas. According to White’s/Lang’s history the flag was captured in August of 1862; the only engagement of August that involved the 62nd was Second Manassas.
After the war, White went to work for Schuyler, Hartley and Graham and by 1868 he became the firm's warehouse manager. White continued his involvement with the military; in 1870 he became First Lieutenant of the consolidated 37th and 71st Regiments, N. G., S. N. Y., and in 1871 he participated in the suppression of the Orange riots in New York City. In 1885 he was elected Captain of the F Company in the Veteran Corps and in 1890 he was elected Colonel.
By 1905 White was in a position to purchase much of the M. Hartley Company’s stock and continue operating as H. K. White Military Goods, located at 3 Water Street, New York City. With his sons, Robert J. White (the original secretary and treasurer of the UMC Company) and Frederick R. White, and George Koerner, White’s company prospered in selling firearms and equipment, military supplies and other goods. It became known especially for its supply of surplus Civil War arms and goods. Eventually White's other son, H. K. White, Jr. joined the firm as well, and when the elder White died in 1923, his sons continued to run the business. H. K. White Military Goods continued to do business until the 1960s and became very well known among antique firearms collectors. In 1963 the company’s stock was purchased by Turner Kirkland’s Dixie Gun Works Company of Union City, Tennessee.
Henry White’s captured flag has an unbroken chain of provenance from White, to Wendell Lang, to Michael Miner, to the Michael Riemenschneider collection.
The flag is conserved, properly framed and ready to hang. The listed price includes delivery to anywhere in the lower forty-eight United States at no additional charge. It comes with Textile Preservation (Fonda Thomsen) Association examination report.