Flag: CSA Flag (Third National Pattern)
This flag was returned to the state of Alabama by the U.S. War Department effective April 26, 1905. It was received two days later, along with four other flags. On the list of returned flags, it was described as "Record Number 5, Organization not known. Captured from an Alabama Regiment, September 17, 1862." While it was the intention of the War Department to return Capture Number 5 (the War Department catalogue number), this flag was sent in its place. This flag, which bears no War Department markings, is a third national Confederate flag which was manufactured at the Richmond Clothing Depot some time after March 4, 1865. The regimental designation, and date of capture or surrender are unknown. In 1940, Peter Brannon, an Archives' employee, issued a statement in which he referred to the flag as that of the 5th Alabama Infantry. However, this identification had no basis in fact. There has also been some speculation that this is the flag of the 5th Alabama Infantry which was surrendered at Appomattox. However, this too remains to be proven. The only thing known for sure is that this flag was sent by error, in place of War Department Capture Number 5.
The real Capture Number 5 is a second wool bunting Richmond Clothing Depot battle flag manufactured in June, 1862. It was captured at the "Sunken Lane" during the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) on September 17, 1862 by 2nd Lt. Theodore W. Greig, Co. C, 61st New York Volunteer Infantry. It is believed to be the flag of the 44th Alabama Infantry. After being captured, the flag was forwarded to the U.S. War Department where it was assigned and inscribed with Capture Number 5. On December 30, 1863, the flag was loaned to Francis Barlow of the 61st New York Volunteer Infantry by order of the Secretary of War. From February 22 to March 5, 1864, the flag was displayed at the United States Sanitary Fair in Albany, New York. Apparently, after the fair closed, the flag was not returned to the War Department and somehow ended up in private hands. The flag was located and positively identified in September, 1999. It was donated to the Alabama Department of Archives and History on March 24, 2001 by Mr. Thomas Blackford of Edgecomb, Maine.
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Updated: October 25, 2006