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Although the specific history of this flag is not known, beyond that it was found at the Alden House, located at 63 Church Street, Belfast, Maine, the flag itself has some intriguing characteristics indicating that the flag is more than meets the eye.  During the time of the Civil War, thirteen star flags in this pattern were manufactured and used aboard small boats of the American Navy.  The hand sewn cotton stars, with their haphazard rotating on their axis, along with the whip-stitched grommets of the hoist, are good indicators that this is an early flag of the type, likely from the Civil War era.  At first, I thought that the flag simply had sustained damage, causing its fly end and lower stripe to disintegrate, thus explaining the losses.  But the complete loss of an entire stripe is something I have not seen before, and on those wool flags that I've seen and have in the collection that sustain wind damage for a prolonged period, the wool is typically frayed and hair-like.  On this flag, the fly end losses seem to be cut, rather than simply the result of natural wear in the wind.  Also, flags, as always, are treasured by those who keep them, and a flag such as this, that may have sustained such significant damage, would have more likely been repaired, than simply left in this state.  For this reason, I am very confident that this flag was intentionally souvenired, where the fragments of the flag were intentionally removed and given to one or more sailors as mementos of their time in service during the Civil War.  Flag fragments that were souvenired during the Civil War turn up occasionally in the market.  Although we will likely never know the specific details about this flag's service, its losses due to souveniring are ample evidence that the flag saw action in that terrible war.


 
Click here to learn more about the practice of souveniring. Star Count:  13 Stars

Dates:  1861-1865

War Era:  American Civil War

Statehood:  Original Thirteen Colonies

Construction:  Wool Bunting with Cotton Stars

Catalog Number:  IAS-00288

   

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13 Stars, Wreath with 3 Center Stars
Entirely Hand Sewn


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