11th N.C. Troops, a Re-enactment Group, Funds Conservation of Flag From Battle of Gettysburg
RALEIGH, N.C. — On July 3, 1863, the final and bloodiest day of the Battle of Gettysburg, the 11th N.C. Troops carried its flag into some of the most intense combat of the Civil War during the famous Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble charge. This historic banner was the only flag from the Tar Heel regiments in Brig. Gen. James Johnston Pettigrew’s Brigade at Gettysburg that was not captured by Union troops during the charge.
The 11th N.C. Troops’ colors are part of the Confederate flag collection at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. The flag, which has needed conservation for many years, has recently been restored with the help of the 11th N.C. Troops, a Civil War re-enactment group. Conservation of the museum’s banners requires expensive, specialized textile treatment, and the re-enactment group has helped meet this need by raising funds to restore the regimental colors. On Feb. 6, members of the 11th N.C. Troops unveiled the newly conserved banner during a dedication ceremony at the museum.
“This historic flag carried at Gettysburg will at last be available for viewing,” says Tom Belton, Curator of Military History. “We are pleased that members of the 11th N.C. Troops took on fund-raising for the conservation of this flag.” The banner will be on exhibit in the near future in A Call to Arms: North Carolina Military History Gallery.
“The 11th N.C. Troops has been working for years to generate funds for such a worthy project,” emphasizes Mark Greiner, First Lt. and Treasurer of the organization. “The combined efforts of our membership, friends and supporters helped us complete this preservation project in October 2009.”
The 11th North Carolina’s banner was one of five issued to the quartermaster of Pettigrew’s brigade, composed of the 11th, 26th, 44th, 47th and 52nd North Carolina. It was signed for “in the field” on June 20, 1863, by the commander of the 11th North Carolina, Col. Collett Leventhrope, and carried into the Battle of Gettysburg two weeks later. “In the field” means the flag was issued to the regiment during a military campaign.
At the war’s end, Col. William J. Martin, the last commander of the 11th North Carolina, brought the regiment’s colors home. In 1920 members of his family donated the banner to the Hall of History, which is now the N.C. Museum of History. Because of the flag’s condition, it remained in storage and could not be displayed.
This Confederate flag and others are being conserved through private funds in preparation for the N.C. Civil War Sesquicentennial. From 2011 to 2015, exhibits and programs will be presented in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in North Carolina.
The Museum of History is located at 5 E. Edenton St., across from the State Capitol. Parking is available in the lot across Wilmington Street. The museum is part of the Division of State History Museums, Office of Archives and History, an agency of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, www.ncculture.com.