Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: In Stock
Frame Size (H x L): 15.75" x 21"
Flag Size (H x L): 7" x 12"

Confederate Bible flag, hand-sewn of ladies' dress silk and silk dress ribbon, with 11 gold, press-decorated paper foil stars affixed in a wreath pattern on each side of its blue canton. There were 7 Confederate states that left the Union in the first wave of secession, followed by 4 more individually, for a grand total of 11 Confederate states that officially seceded. There were two border states particularly loyal to the Confederate cause (Missouri and Kentucky), and it is for this reason that thirteen stars appear on the Confederate Battle flag within St. Andrew's Cross. But on the Confederate 1st National flag, a.k.a. the Stars and Bars, the first of three designs, between 7 and 11 stars are most often seen, with the number of stars growing as more states seceded.

This particular flag was found among the belongings of Captain John Blair Hoge, who commanded Company B of the 1st Virginia Cavalry. Born on February 2nd,1825, Hoge graduated from the University of Ohio in 1843 and was a 36-year-old attorney when he mustered in at his home town of Martinsburg, Virginia on April 19th, 1861. Having served the Virginia House of Delegates from 1855-1859, Hoge's enlistment occurred in the patriotic fervor of the outbreak of war, just six days after the initial Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, South Carolina (April 12-13, 1861). As a former public official and an educated man, he was commissioned into Company "B" of the 1st Virginia Cavalry as a Captain and was present as its commander at the First Battle of Bull Run on July 21st. He resigned about a month later on August 23rd, following the conclusion of just four months of service. Following the end of both the War and Reconstruction, Hoge became a U.S. Congressman and served from 1881-1883. He died on March 1st, 1896, at the age of 71, and was interred at the Old Norbourne Church Cemetery in Berkley County, West Virginia.

Bible flags are a category unto themselves. They are tiny flags made by a loved one for a soldier as tokens of pride and affection, given when he left for war in the 19th century. They might also be made for some other special occasion, such as St. Valentine's Day, sent with a letter to a soldier already in the field. The soldier typically carried such a flag in his Bible, both because this was the safest place to keep it among his few possessions and because it served as a bookmark.

Bible flags come in all shapes and sizes, and with every star configuration imaginable, but most are small enough to fit in a small Bible, such as a soldier might carry, without folding. Sometimes they were larger and did require folding, however, because there was no standard size. But most often they were small enough to fit in a Civil War cover (a small 19th century envelope used for correspondence in that period). This particular example is unusual due to its large size. I have seen a few in this scale, but they are far more rare. Larger Bible flags are particularly nice because they make a bolder statement when framed and displayed and so are prized by flag enthusiasts. It also appears that the flag was probably tacked to a staff to cheer the Confederate cause, doubling as a parade flag.

Bible flags were most often made of ladies dress silk or dress ribbon, like this example, which is one of the ways a Bible flag can, at least in theory, be distinguished from a hand-made parade flag. A woman might use new fabric, of course, but if the maker was a girlfriend of fiancee, as opposed to a mother or sister, she might then use fabric from her own dress a way to further personalize the flag. Further, the dress might be one she wore on some special occasion of significance to the couple.

Mounting: This is a pressure mount between 100% cotton velvet and u.v. protective plexiglas. The black fabric has been washed and treated to reduce and set the dye. The mount was then placed in a gilded frame of outstanding quality that dates to the 1820-1850 period.

Condition: One of the stars on the obverse side of the flag was missing. A star from the reverse side was carefully removed and affixed in its place with an acid-free adhesive. Small holes are present in the silk where the flag was affixed to a staff.
Collector Level: Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count: 11
Earliest Date of Origin: 1861
Latest Date of Origin: 1865
State/Affiliation: The Confederacy
War Association: 1861-1865 Civil War
Price: SOLD

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