Archive for November, 2010

Two #39’s?

Monday, November 22nd, 2010
38 star US flag

38 star US flag

So you know how it goes: you don’t think of something for a while, then – wham! – you get a double or sometime triple dose of it.

After our last posting riveting you, Dear Reader, with the fascinating story about how a star gets added to the US flag on the July 4th after a State is admitted to the Union, a casual search on Twitter socked me right in the eye – figuratively, of course.

43 Star US flag

43 Star US flag

Yesterday, one Bryan LaPlace, a columnist for NorthJersey.com, wrote an article about an obscure occurrence of some US flags that were found in 1970: seems they had 39 stars each. Well, you’ll just have to read the article to realize that there never was an actual 39 star US flag, even though two states could claim the right to that star.

What was frustrating was that the flags were discovered “in Upsala College’s newly acquired art center”. Then the article goes on to say a) “The college closed in 1995.” and b) “the flags would be displayed in a glass case in Upsala’s library.” Kind of leaves you hanging doesn’t it? Where are these flags? Why were no images provided? Who will solve this mystery? Inquiring vexillologists demand answers!

American Civil War flags – 150 years

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Civil War Preservation Trust logoYesterday, November 6th, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected 16th President of the United States. (Of course there’s lots of information to be found on the web about this, but the Civil War Preservation Trust here offers an objective synopsis.) Seemed like it was about time we wrote a little about the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, a tragic page of our nation’s history.

A few months ago, we joined a couple of groups discussing the subject on LinkedIn¬† LinkedIn logo : the American Civil War (1861-1865) Living Historians and the Civil War Sesquicentennial Network. The latter is more frequently posted to and from it we found a post entitled “Irish in the American Civil War & Commemoration Outside the US” and a link to an interesting blog about that spin on the subject.¬† Almost a year ago we posted the following to both of these groups: “Due to its place in time, Oregon’s 33 star flag was the first flag fired upon by the Confederate army in the Civil War. 2009 is Oregon’s sesquicentennial.” (You knew this was going to get around to flags, didn’t you?)

So, here’s the back story:

“By law, a new star is added to the US flag on July 4th, following the admission of a new state into the Union. Oregon was the 33rd State, being granted Statehood on February 14th, 1859. Hence the 33 star flag was adopted and flown until 1861.33 star US flag

Then Kansas was admitted and the flag had 34 stars up until 1863 when West Virginia joined the Union and the US flag had 35 stars until 1865. Etc., etc., etc.”

Of course as we’re based in Oregon, this seemed particularly relevant. Then, as we’re doing a little research for this blog, we discovered an interesting tidbit from the Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Historic Flag Page: “… at the time of the Civil War, there was no standard arrangement for the stars in the union of the flag, thus many different arrangements were used.” (Note the word “union” – lower case – here refers to the “canton” or upper left quadrant of the flag, not the Union side of the war. That’s just Flag Terminology 101 for you.)

So here’s an alternate arrangement called the “Fort Sumter” flag, namedFort Sumter flag because “… the garrison at Fort Sumter was still flying this 33 star flag at the time of the bombardment in April 1861.”

Fascinating stuff this vexillology – study of flags. Adding a layer of history to it, just makes it all the more so. In that light, Dear Reader, we thought you might enjoy seeing a few of the flags relevant to the Civil War:

Confederate 1st National

Confederate 1st National

Confederate 2nd National

Confederate 2nd National

Confederate 3rd National

Confederate 3rd National

Confederate Bonnie Blue

Confederate Bonnie Blue

Confederate Navy Jack

Confederate Navy Jack

General Lee's Headquarters

General Lee's Headquarters

Of course we would be remiss if we didn’t let you know that we can get all of these flags and more for you. They’re not all on our website, but we would certainly be responsive if you were to contact us regarding their availability.

Regardless, we hope you liked this little flag sojourn into American history and would greatly appreciate your comments below. Thanks!