Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 17.5" x 24.5"
Flag Size (H x L): 6.5" x 12.75
On March 4th, 1861, while in session at the temporary capitol of Montgomery, Alabama, the Congress of the Confederate States of America adopted the first of three successive national flags. The design consisted of a blue canton, on which there were to be 7 white stars to represent the states that seceded from the Union, in what was referred to as the “initial wave of secession.” This was to be set against a red field, with a white, horizontal space in the center. Because the height of the white was to be equal to the red above and below, the visual result was 3 horizontal bars of red-white-red. Because it was so similar in design and color to the Stars & Stripes, the First National Confederate Flag was soon nicknamed the “Stars & Bars” by Confederate soldiers.

By July of 1861, four more states had seceded, and by November, two of the four Border States that exhibited significant support for the South, Missouri and Kentucky, had been accepted by the Confederate legislative body. This brought the official count to 13 and increased the number of stars accordingly.

The design that would eventually become the flag of the State of Texas was adopted by the Congress of the Republic of Texas on January 25, 1839, during the nine-year period when it was an independent nation unto itself. This consisted of a single white star, set upon a blue canton that extended the full height of the flag, followed by two bars, arranged white over red. Use of the "Lone Star" in Texas, actually predates this time frame. Formerly employed to symbolize Texas solidarity in declaring independence from Mexico, a single, large star appeared on what is known as the "Burnet Flag," which served as the national flag of the Republic of Texas from 1836 until 1839. It also appeared on the flag designed by Stephen F. Austin in 1835, and another by Lorenzo de Zavala in 1836. The latter of these was allegedly adopted at the Texas Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos.

Because they were so similar in appearance, the State Flag of Texas was sometimes married with that of the First Confederate National Flag. This was accomplished by using just one large star on a flag on a flag that was otherwise in the First National pattern (or a slight variation thereof). When viewed side-by-side, marriages of the two seem all but a forgone conclusion. That said, surviving examples are extraordinarily rare. I have had the privilege to own two Civil War period flags in this format and know of at least three others in institutional collections.

Bible flags were made for a soldier by a loved one, to be presented as a token of patriotism and affection when he went away to war. They received this name because they were often carried in a Bible, both because this was the safest place that a soldier might keep a flat, treasured object of this sort, with limited places to do so, and because they sometimes doubled as a bookmark.

Special in any form, three things make this particular example one of the most extraordinary American flags that exists from any period in our nation’s history. One is the presence of a Lone Star of Texas on a flag of this period. Another are the letters “T-E-X-A-S,” inscribed with a dip pen within the arms of the star. This is effectively a reversal of the imagery found on the Zavala Flag of the Texas Revolution, which bore the same letters, except outside the star’s perimeter, in the vertexes created by it arms. Perhaps the most significant, however, is the slogan, written along the white bar, that reads “I Go To Win Or Die.” Chilling, patriotic verbiage of this sort is present on such a small number of surviving flags that they are exalted to the highest level of desirability.

Also of notable value is the ladies’ dress ribbon from which the flag was constructed. Entirely hand-sewn, the flag’s canton is made of a small length of navy blue, moire silk ribbon, with the wavy, water-like iridescence that characterizes this fabric in the center, framed by satin-striped edging. The top and bottom bars are of plain weave taffeta ribbon, pink in color, with a narrower satin edge. Because the width of the ribbon appears to have been greater than desired, this was split in the center, a portion removed, and the two outer sections re-joined. The use of pink instead of red reflects the availability of ladies fabrics in a household, the latter being more common than the former. A woman might use new fabric, leftover scraps, or if the maker was a girlfriend, fiancée, or wife (as opposed to a mother or sister), she might use fabric clipped from her own dress as a way to romanticize the gift. Whatever the case may be, evidence of scarce materials is evident in the white bar. Made of a different variety of taffeta ribbon, with three satin stripes, the maker of the flag used two lengths, joined by a vertical seam in the center.

The flag was discovered in the original wrapping in which it was presented, folded with care in a sheet of mid-19th century lined paper of unusual scale (12 1/8” x 15 ¾”) and slipped into in a largish envelope (3 ¾” x 8 ¼”). Void of stamp or postmark, the latter is addressed in the following manner with a dip pen:

“M.S.” (meaning “miss,” the latter character in Old German), followed by what appears to be “Libbie,” probably short for “Elizabeth,” followed by an eight to ten-character surname that is difficult to decipher. This may read “Gattenberg” or “Galleden.” Many hours were spent researching these, without success, plus a wide host of variant spellings and alternate possibilities. If not a very hastily written “g,” the last mark may be a comma. Alone on the next line is the word “Present,” exuberantly underlined for emphasis. A susinct note is written on the paper inside, in what appears to be the same hand. There are two lines only: “I’ll come. ‘Jim D.’,” followed by what appears to be the word “Given” and the date of April 15th, 1863” (the “6” in Old German).

The flag surfaced in Connecticut nearly twenty years ago, but no further information is known about its origin. Because this was sent from a man to a woman, the most likely scenario is that the sender was a Union soldier, mailing the flag home after somehow seizing it from a Confederate counterpart. Whatever the case may be, Texas-related flags of 19th century are extraordinarily rare. Those of the Civil War period and prior are nearly non-existent in the private marketplace. Due to this fact, the scarcity and desirability of Confederate material, and the all of the above factors, this is, hands-down and without doubt, the best Confederate Bible flag that I ever encountered and one of the best Texas-related flags that exists of any period.

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.

Mounting: 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 substantial, veneered mahogany molding, with its unusual, double-beveled profile, dates to the period between 1830 and 1860. The background is 100% hemp fabric, ivory in color. The glazing is U.V. protective, anti-glare, museum Plexiglas.

Condition: There is a tiny bit of fabric loss at the bottom end of the hoist binding. There is minor foxing and staining throughout and there is minor bleeding of the black-inked letters. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
Collector Level: Flags for the truest Patriots. My best offerings
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count: Other
Earliest Date of Origin: 1861
Latest Date of Origin: 1863
State/Affiliation: Texas
War Association: 1861-1865 Civil War
Price: SOLD

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