Rare Confederate Citizen’s Flag from Petersburg
Rare Petersburg Citizen’s Flag Created and Flown During the Siege of Petersburg; In our many years of collecting, we have never encountered this type of Confederate flag before. This Confederate St. Andrew’s Cross style battle flag, measuring as follows: frame size – 49.5” x 37.5”; flag size – 35.5” x 23.5”, was originally hand painted on to what appears to be a coarse linen. Although the mid-19th lead-based paint has caused some areas of deterioration on the flag, it remains primarily intact and has been archivally mounted and framed to prevent any further condition issues from arising. This flag was obtained when a now deceased Civil War collector and one-time dealer, was stationed at Ft. Lee (just outside of the City of Petersburg) in 1973. The flag was sold to this dealer, at an estate sale conducted at a house at 511 W. Washington St., in Petersburg. This house, then in somewhat rough condition, and now completely restored, was built in 1867, by Confederate Veteran, William C. Lumsden. Lumsden had served in the 9th Va. Infantry, throughout most of the war, The 9th Va. fought in many conflicts, from Seven Pines to Gettysburg and, after serving in North Carolina, participated in the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff; later the unit was involved in the Petersburg siege, action north of the James River, as well as the Appomattox Campaign. Lumsden was captured during the onset of the Siege of Petersburg, during the famed “Battle of Old Men and Young Boys”, when, on June 9, 1864, a handful of Petersburg citizens and local soldiers, held off the seemingly overwhelming numbers of Union Commander August Kautz’s men, preventing their incursion into Petersburg, thereby initiating nine long months of siege. Lumsden was sent, with other Confederate prisoners, to the infamous Elmira Prison, in Elmira, NY. He was exchanged in October of 1864 and returned to Petersburg to continue his military duties with Major William Henry Hood’s Battalion of Va. Reserves.
The original purchaser of the this flag, in 1973, was told, by the descendants of the Lumsden family, who were conducting a sale to remove everything from the house, that the flag had been made by William Lumsden’s wife, Annie Suter Lumsden, during the Siege of Petersburg, and that Mrs. Lumsden had displayed the flag from the house that the Lumdsens then occupied, in Petersburg, in support of the Confederate troops. Lumsden would, after the war, become a successful businessman, working with a fellow ex-Confederate solider, William Tappey, to form Tappey, Lumsden & Company, in Petersburg; this company fabricated machinery for the textile industry. Lumsden, who died in 1886, is buried in the famed Blandford Cemetery Confederate Soldier’s section, in Petersburg, Va. Today, the house he built, just after the cessation of hostilities, in 1867, is completely restored.
This is indeed a very rare and highly unusual Confederate flag, never intended for direct military use, but rather used as a display of ardent support and patriotism, during the longest siege in U.S. military history. The flag is a great size for display and is completely stabilized and artfully framed, ready for hanging. Accompanying the flag is a compendium of research about Lumsden, his wartime service, his wife and supportive letters detailing the original purchase and trail of possession.