Pair of Post-War Confederate Third National Flags from Hickory Hill Plantation
Gen. Williams Carter Wickham Hickory Hill Plantation, Hanover County, Virginia Pair of Post-War
Confederate Third National Flags from Hickory Hill Plantation – This pair of Confederate Third National, printed, polished cotton flags were discovered, along with several other Confederate flags, by John G. Wickham, Great-Great Grandson of Gen. Williams Carter Wickham (1820 – 1888), at Gen. Wickham’s ancestral home, Hickory Hill, in Hanover County, Virginia. The flags were discovered in the back of a small storage closet under the stairway leading to the third floor of the manor house, at Hickory Hill, around 1987. The flags remained in the care of Mr. Wickham until 2006. Both flags are still attached to their original light wood staffs. The flags are still attached to their original staffs through a narrow slot in the wood, then, the staff slots were joined, clamping the flag fabric to the staff via three short pins running through the staff. The flags are in reasonably good, albeit somewhat soiled condition, still exhibiting strong color; both flags are totally intact, with no rips or tears. These flags appear to date from the latter quarter of the 19th century and may very well have been the possessions of Gen. Wickham. The buyer of the flags will be provided with a notarized letter of provenance. Both flags measure as follows: Hoist Width – 9” x Fly Length – 13.75”; Length of staff – 24.25”. Williams Carter Wickham was the son of William Fanning Wickham and Anne Butler (née Carter) Wickham. His paternal grandfather was John Wickham, the famed constitutional lawyer. Wickham was born in Richmond, Virginia, but spent much of his youth on his father’s 3,200-acre plantation, Hickory Hill, which is located about 20 miles north of Richmond and 5 miles east of Ashland, in Hanover County, Va. Hickory Hill was long an outlying appendage to Shirley Plantation, with much of the property having come into possession of the Carter family by a deed dated March 2, 1734. Williams Wickham was graduated from the University of Virginia and was admitted to the bar, in 1842. He married Lucy Penn Taylor and had several children. He became a justice and was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1849. In 1858, Wickham was commissioned captain of a Virginia volunteer militia cavalry unit, and in 1861 he was elected, by the people of Henrico County, to the state convention, as a Unionist, where he voted against the articles of secession. In September 1861, at the onset of the Civil War, Wickham was commissioned, by Governor John Letcher of Virginia, as a lieutenant colonel of the Fourth Virginia Cavalry. On May 4, 1862, he incurred a severe saber wound during a cavalry charge, at the Battle of Williamsburg. Because of the severity of his injury, Wickham was captured, but was quickly paroled. In August 1862, he was commissioned Colonel of the Fourth Virginia Cavalry. At the Battle of Sharpsburg, he was wounded again, this time in the neck, by a shell fragment. He would recover to participate in the battles of Chancellorsville, Brandy Station and Gettysburg. Wickham was commissioned brigadier general on September 9, 1863, and put in command of Wickham’s brigade, of Fitzhugh Lee‘s division. On May 11, 1864, he fought at the Battle of Yellow Tavern, where Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart was mortally wounded. During this engagement, Stuart’s final order was: “Order Wickham to dismount his brigade and attack.” Wickham resigned his commission on October 5, 1864, and took his seat in the Second Confederate Congress, to which he had been elected, while in the field. Gen. Wickham soon realized that the Confederacy was near its demise, so he participated in the Hampton Roads Conference, in an attempt to bring an early end to the war. Throughout the years after the Civil War, while developing railroads, Wickham also maintained an active political life. He maintained his offices in Richmond and at his residence in Hanover County. He was elected chairman of the Hanover County, Virginia Board of Supervisors in 1871 and a Senator, in the upper house of the Virginia General Assembly, in 1883. Wickham was an officer of the C&O, holding all of the aforementioned, at the time of his death, on July 23, 1888, at his office in Richmond. Wickham was interred in Hickory Hill Cemetery near Ashland, Virginia. A statue of Williams Carter Wickham was donated to the City of Richmond, by the general’s comrades and employees of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, in 1891 and was placed in Monroe Park, a city park in Richmond. SOLD
Third national flag (after March 4, 1865) - the “Blood-Stained Banner” (1865)
The third national flag (also called the “Blood Stained Banner”) was adopted March 4, 1865. This flag, with its red vertical bar across the fly end and rectangular canton, depicting the Army of Northern Virginia battle flag, was proposed by Major Arthur L. Rogers, who argued that the pure white field of the Second National flag could be mistaken as a flag of truce; when hanging limp in no wind, the flag’s “Southern Cross” canton could accidentally stay hidden, so the flag could mistakenly appear all white. Rogers lobbied successfully to have this alteration introduced in the Confederate Senate. He defended his redesign as having “as little as possible of the Yankee blue,” and described it as symbolizing the primary origins of the people of the Confederacy, with the saltire of the Scottish flag and the red bar from the flag of France. The Flag Act of 1865 by the Confederate congress, near the very end of the War, describes the flag in the following language: “The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That the flag of the Confederate States shall be as follows: The width two-thirds of its length, with the union (now used as the battle flag) to be in width three-fifths of the width of the flag, and so proportioned as to leave the length of the field on the side of the union twice the width of the field below it; to have the ground red and a broad blue saltire thereon, bordered with white and emblazoned with mullets or five pointed stars, corresponding in number to that of the Confederate States; the field to be white, except the outer half from the union to be a red bar extending the width of the flag.” — Flag Act of 1865 Despite the passage of the Flag Act of 1865, very few of these third national flags were actually manufactured and put into use in the field, with many Confederates never seeing the flag; moreover, the ones made by the Richmond Clothing Depot used the square canton of the second national flag rather than the slightly rectangular one that was specified by the law.