Wednesday, June 23, 2010

They Lost Their Flags

In addition to the veterans residing there, the Confederate soldiers’ homes housed inanimate relics of the Civil War, as well.

Thirteen flags of Maryland’s Confederate regiments were on display at the home in Pikesville, and they were precious to the inmates who had fought under them. In 1906, however, the state decreed that the flags would be returned to the capitol building in Annapolis for display in a specially-built flag room alongside Union banners.

“The old Confederates at the Home are loathe to part with their collection,” one newspaper reported, and other Confederate veterans were absolutely livid that their banners would be displayed adjacent to Union flags.

After almost a year of negotiations---during which time some veterans threatened to shoot anyone who tried to remove their flags---an arrangement was reached for a special ceremony to transport the flags to Annapolis.

An honor guard of old veterans from the Confederate Soldiers’ Home at Pikesville, accompanied by several hundred members of the Society of the Army and Navy of the Confederate States in Maryland and another hundred women of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, carried the flags aboard a steamship in Baltimore for the trip to the capital. They landed at the U. S. Naval Academy, welcomed by the Naval Academy Band playing “Dixie”.

“Officers in the United States uniform doffed their caps in silent respect, and as the old tattered flags passed the main gate of the academy the sentry there presented arms, while the sergeant of the guard stood at attention with bared head.”

At the capitol, Governor Warfield welcomed the crowd to the chamber of the House of Delegates and formally accepted the flags on behalf of the Commonwealth of Maryland.

(See Washington Herald, December 6, 1906, and Richmond Times Dispatch, November 13, 1907.)

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