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This very unusual flag was made for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1938. While there are a handful of small parade flags (or hand-wavers) known that were produced for this landmark event, the final of its kind, this is the only large-scale flag that I have ever seen with text that advertises the auspicious occasion. By the time of Gettysburg�s centennial in 1963, there were, to no great surprise, no surviving veterans of the war. But at the 1938 Blue & Grey reunion, the number of surviving veterans nationwide was estimated at between eight and ten thousand, and of these, two thousand�a surprisingly large percentage given the age and health of the population�were in attendance. Their average age was 94. According to author Bob Janiskee, writing for the National Park Service, �A sense of closure or finality pervaded the 1938 reunion. Everyone realized that the advanced age and frailty of the veterans would make further reunions of any decent size impractical, and that most of the old vets would soon be dead.�*

The bold overprinted text is very large in relation to the flag itself and fills the majority of the field. Early Stars & Stripes flags of any kind with a direct connection to Gettysburg are extremely rare, while no name in Civil War history carries greater weight with collectors. So what makes this flag so important is the fact that it is a spectacularly graphic, one-of-a-kind example with a very rare relationship to the most hallowed location of them all during the War Between the States.

Construction: The flag itself is unusual. Press-dyed on wool bunting, it has four original grommets, one in each corner, so that it could be hung like a banner and stretched on a flat surface from four points. It is interesting to note that this type of construction on flags dating to the 20th century is something that I have only observed on those that seem to have been produced in Great Britain for the American market. Though there is no hard evidence to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is a British-made flag, in all likelihood it is. Stars & Stripes flags made of press-dyed wool and dating to 1896 or after are something that I have consistently seen only on those flags that have either been found in England, or are of a particular style like others that have been found there, or that are actually stamped with the mark of a British maker.

Some notes on the last surviving Civil War soldiers:

The last surviving Union veteran is considered to be Albert Woolson of New York, who died in 1956 at the claimed age of 108. Census records showed he was actually 106. The next-to-the last was James Albert Hard, also of New York, who passed in 1953 at the claimed age of 111. Census research indicates that he was probably a year or two younger, as well, and may have inflated his age to gain service. The last surviving Civil War general was Union Brevet-Brigadier General Aaron S. Daggett of Maine, who died in 1938, the year of the 75th reunion. The Confederate side outlived these men. The last surviving from the long Grey line was Walter Williams of Mississippi and Texas, who passed in 1959 at the claimed age of 107. William Lundy was long thought to have been the next-to-last, having died in the same year, but both his age and claim of military service were eventually debunked, which meant that William Lundy of Alabama and Florida, age 99, who died in 1957, holds the next-to-last position according to current thought.

* (February, 2009,

Mounting: The flag has been hand-stitched to 100% silk organza for support throughout. It was then hand-stitched to 100% cotton, black in color, which has been washed to reduce excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for the same purpose. The mount was then placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding. The front is U.V. protective acrylic.
Inventory Number:


Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
Contact   Jeff Bridgman Phone: (717) 502-1281
Period: 1st Half 20th Century (1901 -1949)
Date: 1938
Condition: There is some foxing and staining, but there are no serious condition issues.
Measurements: Frame: 45.5" x 59.5" Flag: 34.5" x 48"
Inventory Other Inventory by this Dealer
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
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