Flag: 44th Alabama Infantry (Probable)
Catalogue No. 2001.118.1
(PN17235, PN17236)

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Provenance Reconstruction:

This flag is a second wool bunting issue Army of Northern Virginia battle flag. It was manufactured at the Richmond Clothing Depot in June, 1862. The flag was captured at the “Sunken Lane” during the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) on September 17, 1862 by 2nd Lt. Theodore W. Grieg, Co. C, 61st New York Volunteer Infantry. Grieg was later recommended for and finally received the Congressional Medal of Honor on February 10, 1887. After being captured, the flag was forwarded to the U. S. War Department where it was assigned and inscribed with Capture Number 5.

On December 30, 1863 this flag, along with that of the 10th Alabama Infantry (2001.117.1), was loaned to Francis Barlow of the 61st New York Volunteer Infantry by order of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. From February 22 to March 5, 1864, the flag was displayed at the U. S. Sanitary Commission Fair in Albany, New York. Following the fair, the flag was not returned to the War Department.

On April 26, 1905 a Richmond Depot 3rd National Confederate regimental flag (86.3928.1) was transferred to the Alabama Department of Archives and History by the U. S. War Department. This flag was sent by mistake in the place of War Department Capture Number 5, which had been missing since 1864. The error was discovered in 1988 when the flags in the Archives’ collection were properly cataloged.1 The flag of the 44th Alabama Infantry was finally located and properly identified in 1999.

Following the U. S. Sanitary Fair in 1864, Captain Joseph Brinton who had served in an Indiana regiment during the war, somehow acquired the flags of the 10th and 44th Alabama Infantry regiments. Both flags were cared for by several generations of Captain Brinton’s family. In the 1960's Brinton’s granddaughter, Mrs. Edith Litchfield Denny, gave the flag of the 44th Alabama Infantry to her grandson Thomas Blackford. In 1999 Mr. Blackford of Edgecomb, Maine discussed the flag with Dave Martucci, a well known vexillologist. Martucci in turn contacted Howard Madaus, the acknowledged expert on Confederate flags. In September, 1999, at Mr. Blackford’s invitation, Mr. Martucci and Mr. Maduas examined and authenticated the flag. Discovering the true identity of the flag, Mr. Blackford initiated efforts to have it returned to Alabama. Mrs. Denny also donated the flag of the 10th Alabama Infantry. Both flags were presented to the Alabama Department of Archives and History by Mr. Thomas Blackford on March 24, 2001.

       Curator's Object Files, Civil War Flags, Alabama Department of Archives and History.

      Flags of the Confederacy www.confederateflags.org
      Rollins, Richard ed. The Returned Battleflags, 1995.
      U.S. War Department. American Decorations 1862-1926, Washington. Government Printing Office, 1927.
      U.S. War Department. War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.

1. The 3rd National Confederate flag was not adopted until March 4, 1865. Since the flag of the 44th Alabama was captured on September 17, 1862 the error was obvious. The identy of the 3rd National, which remains in the Department's collection, is unknown.

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Updated: October 26, 2006