Pennsylvania’s Civil War Flags Collection

War Flags Collection

The War Flags Collection | Ultimate Flags Store that accompanied the soldiers of Pennsylvania to battle in the Civil War, some of them with bloodstains and bullet holes, fill drawers in a closet inside the state’s historic Capitol complex. Some are in tatters; others are treasured for the connections they give schoolchildren, Civil War enthusiasts and re-enactors to the people of the commonwealth who bravely served this country. But the condition of these battle-stained flags is deteriorating, and many of them are ripped and ragged where they hang in labeled oak and glass display cases.

Raise the Standard: Exploring the War Flags Collection

The state Department of Administration, which holds the responsibility for the 374 Union flags and 22 Spanish-American flags in the collection, has begun a project to preserve these fragile artifacts, but a timetable for when they will be on public display is not clear. It will depend on factors such as cost and available space in the 14-acre Capitol complex.

A new preservation initiative aims to conserve the flags by sealing them in protective encapsulation, which protects them from light and air pollution that can cause further damage. The encapsulated flags will be stored flat and researchers will be able to examine them easily without damaging the delicate fabric.

The flags tell stories of a local, statewide and national nature. There’s a flag from the 97th Pennsylvania Regiment that bears the bloodstain of its wounded color bearer, and a flag from the 52nd Pennsylvania Regiment that has 107 bullet holes from the battle to capture Fort Fisher.

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