Flag: C.S.A. Flag (First National Pattern)
Catalogue No. 86.2893.1
(PN16332-16333)

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Provenance Reconstruction:

According to the accession log entry, this flag was donated to the Alabama Department of Archives and History on March 21, 1946 by Miss Alice McCravey. It was described as a “large flag in case-made by a Huntsville girl (and) given to a Huntsville Co.”

On January 30, 1989 the flag was removed from its case by Archives’ staff. The case was constructed of pine and lined with a galvanized tray which was padded with newspaper (Huntsville, Alabama, 1925). Four commemorative Stone Mountain half dollars dated 1925 were glued to each corner of the flag. No additional information was located at that time and the War-time use of the flag was questionable. However, in August 1990 the flag was examined by Fonda Thomsen of Textile Preservation Associates, Inc. Ms. Thomsen found nothing to indicate that the flag was not constructed during the war as claimed. It would be nearly 14 years before the history of the flag would at last be determined.

In February, 2004 Brian Hogan of Huntsville, Alabama contacted Dan Reigle of Cincinnati, Ohio. Mr. Reigle was in the process of writing an article on Captain James Johnson of the 4th Ohio Cavalry. Johnson had served in the Huntsville area during the War and had returned there to live many years later. In his research, Reigle had discovered the diary of Lt. William Crane, also of the 4th Ohio. Crane noted that on April 12, 1862 he and (then 2nd Lt.) Johnson “captured in one store several more rifles & shot guns, a mail & a very handsome Secesh flag.” The flag was sent to Cincinnati by Johnson and displayed in the window at J. Shillito Company. Captain Johnson left the Army due to disability in February, 1863. Returning to Cincinnati, he reclaimed the flag which he retained until 1892 when he gave it to his daughter Pearl as a wedding gift. Pearl married Dr. William Burritt of Huntsville. The flag was reported to have been eventually donated to the Egbert Jones Camp No. 357, United Confederate Veterans. After extensive research, Mr. Hogan located an entry in the October 1, 1925 minutes of the camp:



“...Dr. Burritt of St. Louis was present and presented to the Camp a Confederate flag that was captured near the Tenn River in this county in 1862 by some US troops of the 4th Ohio Cavalry under the command of Captain Jas. L. Johnson, who made his home in Huntsville after the War and he and wife and daughter are buried in our City Cemetery and Dr. Burritt in compliance with the wish of Capt. Johnson took this occasion of returning the flag to our Camp. Our Camp highly appreciating the return of this flag, gave expression of their appreciation by unanimous vote of thanks to Dr. Burritt who was formerly a resident of Huntsville and was a son in law of Capt. Johnson....”



The discovery of this entry led to a reexamination of the Archives Registrar’s files where a letter from Miss McCravey dated March 4, 1946 was located. Miss McCravey, representing the United Daughters of the Confederacy, was responsible for transferring a large quantity of artifacts, records and documents formerly exhibited in the “Veterans Room” at the courthouse in Huntsville to the Department of Archives and History. Among the artifacts was the flag, which was described by Miss McCravey:


“the large flag in the glass was made by a Huntsville girl and given to a Hunts. Co. at the courthouse, before a large crowd, just before the Co. left for the War - it was captured by the yankees, near Whitesburg. It was kept by Capt. Johnson, (a yankee) until his death. Then his son in law, a citizen of Hunts, Dr. William Burritt had it put in the case and presented to the Egbert J. Jones Camp, U.C.V.”



Sources:
Curator’s Object Files, Civil War Flags, Alabama Department of Archives and History
Reigle, Daniel H. "Captain James R. Johnson, 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry From Cincinnati To Huntsville," Ohio Civil War Genealogy Journal, Volume 8, Number 2.



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Updated: October 26, 2006