The Sixtieth Virginia Regimental Flag
The 60th Virginia regimental battle flag was a symbol of honor and glory among the soldiers of the regiment. This emblem was highly sought on the field of battle by the enemy and many color bearers perished, still firmly grasping its pole. To capture a confederate flag meant a Medal of Honor and a thirty day furlough for any Yankee brave enough to contest the southern color bearer.
By mid-1862 Confederate regiments were authorized to record participating battles on their regimental flag. The 60th Virginia received distinguished recognition of crossed bayonets by order of General Robert E. Lee; the only one of its kind in the confederacy. This admiration was bestowed for their gallantry at the Battle of Frayser’s Farm. Their flag also contained battle honors for Cold Harbour, Mechanicsville and Frayser's Farm. The Seven Days Battle was the unit's first hard fought campaign and inflicted 204 casualties on a regiment that consisted of only 522 men in its companies three months prior.
This flag is an early (2nd bunting) issued in mid-1862 and is approximately 46.5” (hoist) x 47.5.” It was carried by the regiment until its capture at the Battle of Winchester on September 19, 1864.
After its capture the flag was delivered to the War Department, but not before a souvenir of the center star was retrieved by General George A. Custer. Custer removed one star from each captured flag so that he could later create a flag containing all the stars from captured flags as his remembrance of glory.
NOTE: As part of Wharton's Division, of the Army of the Valley, the 60th Virginia was issued a fifth wool bunting flag in late 1864 to replace the one captured at Winchester. This would have been made at the Staunton Clothing Depot. Many of the fifth wool bunting flags had no battle honors and would have been captured at the Battle of Waynesboro on March 2, 1865. Because most of the flags captured at Waynesboro were of this variety, it is impossible to distinguish the regimental flags apart.
On August 3, 2012 permission was granted by the American Civil War Museum to obtain donations for the conservation and preservation of this valuable piece of American History. This captured flag has not been previously conserved or treated and was among 282 unidentified regimental flags held by the U.S. War Department that were returned to the Museum of the Confederacy, per Joint Resolution No. 43 of June 29, 1906 and was delivered to the Museum of the Confederacy on July 13, 1906. At this time the museum was located within the White House of the Confederacy, in Richmond, Virginia. The flag was stored there until the new museum facility opened in 1976, when it was transferred to that building.It now resides in the American Civil War Museum's new complex at the Tredegar Iron Works.This unidentified flag was later discovered by its battle honors and cross bayonets as belonging to the 60th Virginia Regiment.
The conservator is so concerned with the condition of the flag that it was recommended to be advanced "at the top of the priority list to halt any further loss." There is much damage from battle and time. The quotation for the complete conservation and restoration is $16,110.00.
The final donation was made on May 3, 2018 to complete the donation drive. I would like to thank all the generous people that have donated their hard-earned monies towards the preservation and conservation of this flag. A special mention must also be forwarded to the 14th Tennessee Infantry, Co. B, for their contribution efforts. Thank you gentlemen. Every individual’s contribution did not go unnoticed, and we fulfilled our obligation. This priceless emblem is saved!
We await patiently as this will be a tedious and time consuming process. The flag will be transported to the conservator by mid-year and will be completely restored and delivered back to the museum by the summer of 2019 for an unveiling. I will keep you informed as I receive updates and thanks again for all the support to complete this massive undertaking.
The Co. K, 60th Virginia flag banner pictured above was found in an old trunk in Macon, GA belonging to Private David J. Wise of the Alleghany Roughs. The pike banner was used in United Confederate Veterans reunions in the 1890's.
The 60th Virginia regimental flag was captured at the Battle of Winchester on September 19, 1864 along with Color Sgt. Adam Johnston. Johnston gave the above flag fragment to the United Daughters of the Confederacy when he filed for his the Southern Cross of Honor medal in 1908. The fragment was verified to be from 1864-65 material and was most likely from the last 60th Virginia flag when the unit disbanded in Christiansburg, VA on April 12, 1865.
60th VIRGINIA REGIMENTAL FLAG IS SAVED!
60th Virginia Infantry Regiment
60th Virginia Infantry Regiment © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.