From the Collections—Civil War Flag Conservation

13, December 2009

The museum has recently undertaken a major conservation effort on several Civil War flags. Take a look at some of the dramatic changes seen to just one-- the Confederate First National 8-star flag of the 1st Missouri Infantry.

Regiments were required to bear two flags--regimental colors and a national flag. This flag was reputedly flown by the 1st Missouri Infantry, a unit that fought in the Vicksburg and Atlanta campaigns and sustained heavy losses during the war. Bearing from seven to fifteen stars to represent Confederate states, this version of the first Confederate flag has eight stars to represent the states of South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, and Virginia. The number of stars, the flag’s unusual size and its colors indicate early use as battle flags became standard rather early in the war.