The flag, tattered with 41 different bullet holes and still bloodstained, is in relatively good condition considering it saw much action during the Civil War, including the entire Atlanta campaign. “Technically, the flag has been in the vicinity of our Museum before,” said Mike Bearrow, curator at the Museum. “From here, the flag ended up being issued to the 65th Georgia Infantry Regiment up in Dalton, where it then went through the Atlanta campaign and up into Tennessee.” The flag was carried into the heat of several battles, including the Battles of Resaca, New Hope Church/Dallas/Pickett’s Mill, Kennesaw Mountain, Peachtree Creek and Atlanta. It’s the only known surviving example of an Army of Tennessee flag that has both the unit and state designations sewn onto both sides.
After taking ownership, The Southern Museum began seeking out donations for the expense of preserving the historical artifact. Last week, the Museum received half of the required funds for the preservation from the Georgia division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Member contributors are as follows: Leonidas Polk Camp, #1446 of Smyrna;;Camp McDonald Camp, #1552 of Kennesaw; Robert E. Lee Camp, #2005 of Smyrna; Past Georgia Division (State) Sons of Confederate Veteran Commander Charlie Lott; Chattahoochee Guards Camp, #1639 of Mableton; General John B. Gordon Memorial Camp, #1449 of Thomaston.
According to Martin K. O’Toole, current member and former Judge Advocate of the Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, explained the organization’s interest in the preservation of the flag. “This particular battle flag was used in the tragic Confederate assault at Franklin, Tennessee and is actually stained with the blood of the color bearer. The 65th Georgia fought valiantly and their Brigade Commander was one of the six Confederate generals killed that day. As decedents of the honorable men who served the Confederacy during the South’s struggle for independence, we are committed to ensuring that future generations know the heroic story of these men.”
If you are interested in making a donation to the 65th Georgia Infantry Flag preservation project, or to the Museum itself, please contact Leslie Edge at email@example.com or 770-427-2117 ext. 3183.
A Smithsonian Institution affiliate, the Southern Museum (www.southernmuseum.org) features collections of rare Civil War weapons, uniforms, and other personal items; an exciting exhibit about The Great Locomotive Chase, including the General locomotive; and a full-scale replica of a locomotive factory that helped rebuild the South after the war. The Museum recently opened the Jolley Education Center, which features a variety of hands-on exhibits to inspire a love of learning in children.
The Southern Museum is located 20 miles north of Atlanta, off I-75 at exit 273. Admission is $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for seniors, $5.50 for children ages 4-12, and free for children 3 and under.