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  LARGE SCALE CONFEDERATE BIBLE FLAG IN THE FIRST NATIONAL PATTERN, WITH 7 STARS, APRIL 1861 OR PRIOR, FOUND WITH THE DIARY OF 1st LIEUTENANT JOHN M. WEIDEMEYER OF THE 6TH MISSOURI INFANTRY (CONFEDERATE)

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 12.5" x 22.5"
Flag Size (H x L): 5.5" x 15.5"
Description....:
Bible flags are tiny flags made for a soldier by a loved one, to be presented as a token of pride and affection when he went away to war. They received this name because they were typically carried in a Bible, both because this was the safest place that a soldier might keep a flat, treasured object on his person, with limited places to do so, and because it sometimes doubled as a bookmark.

This particular example, in the First National Confederate Flag format, is made entirely of silk. The format is unusually elongated, beautiful to look at, and the scale is distinctively large scale among its counterparts of the period. In fact, in terms of the length of the flag on the fly measurement, this is the largest Bible flag that I have encountered.

Despite the exaggerated length, the blue canton of the flag is approximately square in shape. This contains 7 stars, configured in the usual, medallion fashion, with 6 arranged in a circular wreath and a single star in the center. Although, technically, each state seceded on a different day, in the following order:

State Legislatures or Secession Convention Delegates Voting for Secession
1 South Carolina – December 17th, 1860 (169 to 0 in favor of secession)
2 Mississippi – January 9th, 1861 (84 to 15 in favor of secession)
3 Florida – January 7th, 1861 (62 to 7 in favor of secession, 64 or 65 signed the final ordinance on January 10th)
4 Alabama – January 11th, 1861 (61 to 39 in favor of secession)
5 Georgia – January 19th, 1861 (208 to 89 in favor of secession)
6 Louisiana – January 26th, 1861 (113 to 17 in favor of secession)
7 Texas – February 1st, 1861 (166 to 7 in favor of secession)

These 7 states are considered to have left the Union together on February 8th, 1861, in what was known as the “initial wave of secession.” This was the day that the provisional constitution of the Confederate States of America was adopted at the first secessionist convention in Mobile, Alabama. In actuality, it was accepted by just 6 of the 7 states, as delegates from Texas were not yet present. The first delegate from Texas took his seat on February 15th, followed by another on February 19th, then 5 more on March 2nd.

While the CSA is said to have formally admitted Texas on March 2nd, the state was automatically included in the first round, probably because the percentage support of its February 1st decision was second only to that of South Carolina. Texas was the only one of the first 7 states to ratify its vote by way of a popular vote of the people. This took place on February 23rd, with a margin of 46,129 to 14,697 voting in favor of secession. Unlike its counterparts, the effective date for the secession of Texas was set to occur in the future, on March 2nd. This coincided with the anniversary of the 1836 adoption of the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Texas, and coincidentally with the birthday of Sam Houston. Houston served as the 1st and then again as the 3rd president of the Republic of Texas, then later as the state’s Governor, beginning in December of 1859. He remained in office until January 28th, 1861, when he was ousted at a secessionist convention, because he refused to agree that leaving the Union was in the state’s best interests.

The flag formerly accompanied the 140-page, handwritten diary of 1st Lt. John M. Weidemeyer of the 6th Missouri Infantry (Confederate) and the 3rd Missouri Battalion Infantry. Weidemeyer was born 01/10/1834 in Charlottesville, VA. He enlisted at Osceola, MO and was commissioned into Co. F of the 6th Missouri on May 1st, 1862. Taken prisoner at both Vicksburg (1863) and Ft. Blakely, AL (1865), he survived the war and lived into the 20th century. He passed on 01/12/1911 in Clinton, MO. In addition to the diary, Weidemeyer wrote a 17-page typed memoir. Both documents, along with a modern, detailed biography, survive among the holdings of the Missouri State Library and Archives.

Diary: http://cdm.sos.mo.gov/cdm/ref/collection/mack/id/7405
Memoirs: http://cdm.sos.mo.gov/cdm/ref/collection/mack/id/7246
Brief Biography: http://www.ozarkscivilwar.org/archives/4703

Construction: The flag is entirely hand-sewn throughout with extraordinary precision and the tiniest stitches and seams that one will ever encounter in early flag-making. The canton is made of plain weave silk that has been pieced in 4 vertical segments, which is very unusual. The bars are likewise made of plain weave silk, similar in appearance. The stars are beautifully embroidered with silk thread. The hoist end was rolled back onto itself and hemmed. A length of silk fringe was applied to the fly end and a silk ribbon was stitched at the top of the hoist.

Provenance: In the latter 20th century, the flag at some point came into the personal collection of military expert and dealer, Norm Flayderman. Flayderman marked many things with his name on handwritten tags. A note that accompanied this flag stated that the diary and the flag were once together. He is likely to have sold the diary to Missouri, or to a client who donated it to the state.

Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by expert staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples.

The exceptional, black-painted, rippled profile molding dates to the period between 1830 and 1850 and retains its original, gilded, pie crust liner. The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color. The mount was placed in a cove-shaped molding with a rope style inner lip and very dark brown, nearly black surface with reddish highlights, to which a hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding was added as a liner. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass.

Condition: There are 2 small stains along the top edge, one in the canton and one in the bar, accompanied by very minor foxing and staining elsewhere. There is some vertical splitting where the flag was once folded. There are some very tiny, pinprick-sized holes in the bars and nicks along the top and bottom edges. The overall condition is really exceptional for a silk flag of this period.
Collector Level: Flags for the truest Patriots. My best offerings
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count: 07
Earliest Date of Origin: 1861
Latest Date of Origin: 1861
State/Affiliation: The Confederacy
War Association: 1861-1865 Civil War
Price: SOLD
 

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