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Vermont's Civil War Flags

1870s photograph

State House vestibule with its 1871 flag cases, photo taken mid-1870s
(Stereoview courtesy of David Schütz, State Curator)

West Cabinet East Cabinet

Photographs taken late 1990s by Tom Ledoux

For several years these flags were displayed from the pillars of the Senate and House of Representatives under the authority of Number 52 of the Acts of 1863. In 1870 a joint resolution was adopted, Number 108 of the Acts of 1870, authorizing the Governor, the Quartermaster General, the Secretary of State and the State Librarian "to cause said flags to be placed in one or more glass cases (click on image for a larger view) and in some conspicuous position in the State House. That when said flags shall have been so placed by said officers of the State, they shall not be moved from their position without the permission of the Legislature. (Based on a 1931 pamphlet detailing the history of the Vermont State House, courtesy of Dave Niles)

In the cabinet at the westerly end of the vestibule (pictured left, above) were the flags of the "Old Brigade," together with the Brigade Guidon itself, the Headquarters Sixth Corps Guidon and those of the First Regiment of Cavalry.

The cabinet on the easterly end of the vestibule (pictured right, above) contained the flags of the other Vermont Infantry Regiments not included in the "Old Brigade," together with those of the Sharpshooters and Light Artillery Batteries.

By 2003, all of the flags had been removed for conservency, and are now stored in a climate-controlled facility in the Vermont Historical Society Library.

Some of the conserved flags are once again on public display in the State House:

Flag

3rd Vermont Infantry National Flag

Flag

5th Vermont Infantry National Flag

Flag

11th Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag

Flag

1st Vermont Cavalry Regimental Flag

Photographs by John Argy, LeRoy Clark and Don Wickman.
Used with the kind permission of David Schütz, Curator, Vermont State House.
In 2016, the entire Vermont Civil War Flag Collection was published online at DigitalVermont.org.

The collection includes:
10th Vermont Infantry National Flag (Presentation)
10th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
10th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
10th Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag
11th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
11th Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag
12th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
12th Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag
13th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
13th Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag
14th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
14th Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag
15th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
15th Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag
16th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
16th Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag
17th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
17th Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag
17th Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag
1st Vermont Artillery Regimental Flag
1st Vermont Battery National Guidon
1st Vermont Battery Regimental Flag
1st Vermont Brigade Guidon
1st Vermont Cavalry National Flag
1st Vermont Cavalry National Flag
1st Vermont Cavalry Regimental Flag
1st Vermont Cavalry Regimental Flag
1st Vermont Heavy Artillery National Flag
1st Vermont Heavy Artillery National Flag
1st Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
1st Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag
2nd Vermont Battery National Flag
2nd Vermont Battery National Guidon
2nd Vermont Battery Regimental Flag
2nd Vermont Brigade Guidon
2nd Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
2nd Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
2nd Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
2nd Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag
2nd Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag
2nd, 3rd, or 5th Vermont Infantry National Flag
3rd Vermont Battery National Guidon
3rd Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
3rd Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
3rd Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag (Presentation)
3rd Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag
3rd Vermont Sharpshooters National Flag
4th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
4th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
4th Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag (National Issue)
5th Vermont Infantry (Veterans) Regimental Flag
5th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
5th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
5th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag (Presentation)
5th Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag
6th Corps Headquarters Guidon
6th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
6th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
6th Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag
7th or 17th Vermont Infantry National Flag
7th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
7th Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag
8th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
8th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
8th Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag
9th Vermont Infantry Regiment National Flag
9th Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag
9th Vermont Infantry Regimental Flag

Notes

The Vermont Brigade Guidon was a gift from Mrs. Cornelia R. Conant Halsey, wife of Major Thomas H. Halsey, United States Paymaster to the "Old Brigade."

Most of the others appear to have been commercially manufactured by Charles Eaton (26), Abner Pollard (1) and Thomas Savory (3) of Boston, Evans & Hassell (2) and Hortsmann Brothers (11) of Philadelphia, and the New York Depot (4), Paton & Co. (1) and Tiffany & Co. (3) of New York City; the manufacturers of 15 of the flags are unknown.

From Carpenter's History of the Eighth Regiment Vermont Volunteers, 1861-1865, pp 228-229:
"There's a strange love for the old flag burning in our hearts. It is inconceivable, indescribable, absolutely unknown to one never in battle or active service -- a "strange something, born of war"; perhaps born on the long, weary march, when hunger stares in the face and thirsty lips cry for water. It is strengthened on the lonely picket line, as the soldier walks his beat at midnight, or crouches in the gloom as he hears the cry of pain from his next comrade, who perhaps falls with the bright flash and the rebel bullet from a concealed foe. It is welded as a band of hot iron in the first and wild tumult of battle, and sealed by the blood of hero martyrs, as they pour out their lives amid horrible carnage, that liberty may live.

And lastly, it is made perfect by long suffering, either of hunger, thirst, weariness of body, the ugly wounds and the agony that follows on the battlefield or in the hospital, or the horrid prison pens with their exposure and starvation. I repeat it, love for the old flag is --

"That strange something, born of war;"

and as we meet, and the flag is brought again into our midst, and we live over and over again the battles of the war, with memories that in times past would crowd and distinguish centuries,--but in our lives compressed within the compass of a single day,--do we not find the long roll of wounded and dead cut as with a knife in our quivering hearts? You may call it only sentiment, but it is true to life.

The war and all its precious memories--soul-lifting or sad--seems now like some strange dream. The mighty host of armed men, whose tramp caused the nations to tremble, has gone from our sight. Their wild battle cry will be heard no more forever; their battle flag will come forth no more to war. Our flag is furled,--a precious relic for future generations, and a proud fact to us that only men brave, daring, heroic, and, better still, loyal to the core, ever bore aloft the colors and flag of that grand old regiment, the Eighth Vermont Volunteers."

Confederate Flag in Vermont!

 St. Albans Daily Messenger, Wednesday, July 12, 1911

CONFEDERATE FLAG IN VERMONT

Interesting Story of the Civil War Comes from Enosburg Falls.

A recent issue of The Confederate Veteran published in Nashville, Tenn., contains a short article on "The Confederate Flag in Vermont in 1861" by Miss Grace O. Giddings, of Enosburg Falls which will be of interest:

"In the beginning of the war between the states there was much contention in the North, owing to division of opinion, some favoring the North others the South. Many who sympathized with the South cautiously concealed their sentiments.

"Among those who openly expressed their convictions that the South has a righteous cause was Horton Hall, a respected and influential resident of Enosburg Falls, Vt., noted for his generosity and genial disposition.

He was informed on topics of the day, and did not hesitate to explain to neighbors and friends the position of the Confederacy. To the consternation of the people he unfurled a large Confederate flag over the road in front of his house. No Yankee could enter the town on South Main St. without passing under the waving banner of the South. Although sullen looks and threatening countenances greeted the flag, it waved on in defiance of the citizens displeasure. Imagine the situation --a Confederate flag waving over the heads of loyal Vermonters. The new spread throughout the Missisquoi valley, and great excitement prevailed.

"The wily Yankees saw the necessity of playing some of their tricks which they could use adroitly. Forthwith a scheme was devised to detain Mr. Hall at the post-office with some startling war news. While he was there a boy cut the rope which held the Southern banner, and a horseman, seizing the rope, galloped furiously through Main St., with the flag trailing in the road. Cheers and shouts rent the air, while men and boys pursued the fleeing horseman. Hearing the disturbance, Mr. Hall looked out in time to see his banner rudely dragged through the streets.

It was impossible to recover the flag, for it disappeared in a cloud of dust, and never appeared again. Free speech had been tolerated but raising a Confederate flag in Yankeetown was unendurable.

"When adversity overtook Mr. Hall, soon after, he disposed of his property in the village and retired to a farm, a few miles distant, where he passed the remainder of his life amid peaceful surroundings.

His daughter Mrs. Arvilla Cross, who made the flag, died at an advanced age in this town last year.

"Not many persons who were present when the Confederate flag was raised now remain, but the few survivors distinctly remember the thrilling events of that day."
Contributed by Bob Hackett.