Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 25.25" x 34.25"
Flag Size (H x L): 14" x 23.75"

This exceptional Confederate guidon, in the form of the 1st National flag (a.k.a, the "Stars & Bars"), was one of three known flags captured in Florida by Union forces, between the towns of Jacksonville and Baldwin. After the war's end, it was taken home as a war trophy by a hardened corporal, Charles C. Atwood, of the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry, who at the time of the flag's capture, unlike many, had practically served throughout the entire duration of the Civil War. It is very likely that Atwood was personally responsible for the acquisition of the flag and at least one other, while chasing Confederate picketers or bivouacking with Company L, away from the main column. In early February, 1864, a Confederate signal camp was captured by portions of the First Massachusetts mounted troops, which afterwards charged and captured a Confederate artillery depot. And it was one of these two sites where Atwood was lucky enough to claim his bounty.

In civilian life, Charles C. Atwood of Lowell, Mass. had been a commercial painter, but on April 16, 1861, at the rather late age of 28 (old among his respective comrades), he mustered in as part Company H of the 6th Massachusetts Infantry. Later that year, on October 23, he transferred to Company "L" of the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry, and it was with this esteemed unit that he saw his most serious combat.

According to an account published in Benjamin W. Crowninshield's book, "A History of the First Regiment of Massachusetts Cavalry Volunteers", on Feb. 5, 1864, a battalion comprised of Companies A, B, C, with a quondam of Companies I, K, and L, embarked on the steamer Charles Houghton, arriving at Jacksonville at 4 p.m., two days hence. While landing on February 7th, an accompanying Union Steamer, General Hunter, was fired on by Confederate pickets.

Twenty mounted Union Cavalry were sent in pursuit, chasing the Confederate picketers three miles over a rotten plank road. During this short time the small contingent of Union soldiers quickly captured a signal station and several prisoners. With these trophies and sundry feathered rations, they returned to Jacksonville.

On the following afternoon the advance started inland in two columns, one marching on Camp Finnegan and the other passing it. The latter captured more Confederate picketers that were in the process of sounding an alarm. At about 1 p.m. on February 8th, an artillery camp was overrun and captured by way of a well-orchestrated charge. The acquisition of many prisoners, six Napoleon guns (cannons), and a large quantity of stores were the results. Following a short rest, the advance was resumed, and on reaching Baldwin the two columns united. Here another gun and other various arms were captured.

This beautiful guidon, in near mint condition, was one of two flags taken home by Atwood following the war, the other being an artillery battle flag in the Beauregard pattern, measuring 35" by 37". Each was tagged with a paper label that Atwood signed with a dip pen. Notes were thereafter added in pencil by a family member. Years later, descendents living in Concord, New Hampshire found the flags in the attic of their home during a move and gave them to the next-door neighbor as a gift. Earlier this year a picker acquired them from the subsequent owner.

The entirely hand-sewn guidon is made of a beautiful fabric that is either fine grade wool or a wool and silk blend having a fine sheen/luster. The stars are double-appliqued (applied to both sides of the canton) and made of cotton. There is a ring of 10 stars, meaning that the flag was produced in the short window of time following Tennessee's secession on May 6th, 1861, when there were officially ten Confederate States. After the subsequent secession of North Carolina, just fourteen days later, an 11th star was added as an "outlier", outside the original wreath. This very rare configuration is a nice demonstration of continuous change in the Confederate flag. It is also visually intriguing, adding a bit of whimsical charm to the flag's presentation.

Corporal Atwood was a member of G.A.R. Post 185 in Lowell, Massachusetts. The G.A.R, or Grand Army of the Republic, was the primary veteran's organization for the Union Army. Also found among Atwood's affects were four G.A.R pins, one of which is engraved with his name. This was a badge indicating membership in the "Old 6th Massachusetts", his initial infantry unit. These badges are included with the flag.

Mounting: The flag has been hand-stitched tow 100% cotton, black in color, which has been washed and treated to reduce and set the dye. It was then placed in a substantial gilded molding that dates to the period between 1830 and 1850. Spacers keep the textile away from the glass, which is u.v. protective.
Collector Level: Flags for the truest Patriots. My best offerings
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count: 11
Earliest Date of Origin: 1861
Latest Date of Origin: 1861
State/Affiliation: The Confederacy
War Association: 1861-1865 Civil War
Price: SOLD

Views: 5312