Rally Round the Flags!
Civil War relics tell a tale of West Virginia’s earliest beginnings
The cry of battle – the sounds of cannon – smoke filled air – confusion everywhere! Brave men fought on, facing tremendous challenges and following their leaders through many conflicts. Regimental flags and guidons were the only means for men to find their way in the heat of battle and those who carried the colors were in constant mortal danger.
In 1902, the state of West Virginia acquired a collection of West Virginia Civil War battle flags. This collection, 60 in all, was placed in the state’s museum in Charleston. Over a period of time, the flags deteriorated and, about mid-century, they were placed in storage. An attempt was made to restore and preserve but proved to actually increase the deterioration process. Thus the flags remained hidden from public view for nearly 50 years.
In 2001, the Commissioner of Culture and History decided that West Virginia Independence Hall, because of its unique connection to the Civil War, was the perfect location to exhibit these flags. Thirteen were selected from the collection (12 West Virginia flags and one captured Confederate flag) and a project was launched to rectify the damages done in previous preservation efforts. After this work was completed, the next step involved preparing a fitting exhibit in which to house the flags. The Foundation Board agreed to undertake the responsibility for this part of the task and spent several years working towards the goal of creating a secure environment with a fitting setting for these wonderful treasures. The Board worked cooperatively with the Division of Culture and History and the completed project is now open to the public and is the largest exhibit of West Virginia Civil War battle flags.
Plan to visit
West Virginia Independence Hall
and discover more about
West Virginia’s unique history
in the Civil War era.