flag of 34 stars dates to the opening of the Civil War.
The flag would be extraordinary and rare even if it had
adhered to the traditional design of a
Medallion Pattern flag, featuring concentric wreaths
of stars around a large center star, and, typically, one
single star in each of the four corners. The maker
of this flag, though, managed to elevate the flag to yet
another level of beauty and rarity by the simple
placement of an additional accompanying star in each
corner, linearly arranged in alternating directions.
This simple alteration results in a
spectacularly kinetic pinwheel effect, giving the
observer the feeling that the flag is in motion.
It's precisely this kind of unique and unexpected
dynamic that makes American flags fascinating to collect
and enjoy. Flags such as this, even when born
amidst the incredible strife of a period such as the
Civil War, manage to project the spontaneity and
exuberance of the American spirit across time and space
to future generations of Americans. Any conjecture about
the use of the flag is speculative, since the history of
the flag's origins are lost. Given its cotton
construction and narrow, delicate hoist, it most likely
was not made for military use, though it's possible it
was presented as a presentation color to a departing
unit. More likely, the flag was made to be hung at
a recruiting station for Union soldiers, or perhaps
flown from a government building or at a local gathering
place. Regardless of its intended use, it would
have been eye-catching and beautiful to behold when
waving in the wind.