NEW YORK STATE COLORS OF THE 45th NEW YORK

$25,000.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1179-030

This flag has a provenance and attribution to the 45th New York going back to its initial purchase in 1983 from Stars and Bars Antiques in Spotsylvania, VA. It is accompanied by two conservation treatment reports, one from 2013 prior to a sale in 2014, and another from 2016 after its acquisition by the Texas Civil War Museum, where it has been on display since.

The flag itself measures roughly 74” tall and 83” wide (with some allowance for varying shrinkage of the fabric) and is made of three panels of a blue wool/cotton blend fabric seamed horizontally. The center was cut away for insertion of a painted oval disk about 53” by 66” showing the NY state seal. On the obverse the female figure of Liberty in blue and white with liberty cap on pole stands at left and Justice is seated at right in red and white with sword and scales. They are on an outcropping in the foreground, resting elbows on a round floral frame that emphasizes a rising or setting sun over mountains and waterfall in the distance, appearing to be part of the wider scene of mountains and water behind them, probably the Hudson. At center, above the two figures, an eagle perches on a half globe with red, white and blue torse (a twisted roll of fabric.) Below them the is the state motto, “EXCELSIOR,” in black letters 2 1/2” tall on a white ribbon. The flag is a single layer of fabric and the central scene is painted in reverse on the back, but with the state motto reading correctly.

The flag has been mounted and framed for display and shows very well. The blue field shows separation lines vertically on the upper and lower panels, and horizontally on the middle panel, from cotton weft threads weakening, but the overall effect does not distract and the central panel has a strong visual impact with a few lines of cracking to the paint, but very little inpainting. A copy of the February 1, 2016, detailed condition and treatment report, which includes recommendations for handling and display is available for interested parties. (The earlier report is available as well.)

The regiment recruited in New York, had a substantial German element in its ranks and was known also as the Fifth German Regiment (or Rifles,) and as Howe’s Rifles. It mustered in for three years on Sept. 9, 1861, gained its numerical designation from the state on Sept. 14, and left the state Oct. 9. It served in Blenker’s Division, Army of the Potomac and then the Mountain Department under Fremont, before joining the 1st Corps Army of Virginia in Pope’s Virginia Campaign, culminating in Second Bull Run, and then became part the 11th Corps Army of the Potomac on Sept. 12, 1862. It moved west with the corps in Fall 1863 to join the Army and Department of Ohio and Cumberland, amalgamating with the 12th Corps to form the 20th Corps in April 1864, mustering out June 30, 1865, at Nashville. In 1862 it was present at Strasburg, Woodstock, New Market, Harrisonburg, Sulphur Springs, and Cedar Creek and engaged with loss at Cross Keys, Second Bull Run Campaign (losing 47 men.) In 1863 they fought at Chancellorsville (76 men,) and Gettysburg (224 out of 375 engaged on July 1 according to Busey and Martin.) After moving west, they served in Lookout Valley, Wauhatchie, and Missionary Ridge. In 1864 they were in the Atlanta Campaign, seeing action as Resaca, Dallas, and Kennesaw Mountain, and in December took part in the Battle of Nashville. During its service it lost 5 officers and 48 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, and another 4 officers and 81 enlisted men who were wounded, but recovered. Another 108 officers and enlisted men died of disease, and 22 more in the hands of the enemy. 243 officers and men were listed as missing, the majority (215) at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, where the collapse of the Union lines would have prevented an accurate count of the actual killed and mortally wounded, something commented on by the regimental monument at Gettysburg.

This a great looking flag, a very livable size, ready to hang, and a nice combination of history and art.  [sr][ph:L]

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