The Confederate battle flag returned to South Carolina last month after spending decades in a Tennessee children’s museum wasn’t any display banner that avoided capture because it was tucked inside a quartermasters’ wagon as the war wound down.
Indeed, Pvt. George W. Wise of the 19th SC Infantry Regiment carried the flag into battles from middle Tennessee to Atlanta during the ugliest days of the Civil War.
“It was shot out of his hands in Murfreesboro in 1863, and he probably dropped it when he lost his left arm in a battle at Shelbyville,” reported the Charleston Post and Courier. “But Pvt. Wise never really let go of that flag. When the war ended, Wise carried the tattered, bullet-riddled banner home.”
Last month, the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the state of South Carolina announced they had worked together to purchase the banner from the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge, Tenn., for $50,000.
It becomes one of the most important flags in the collection of the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum in Columbia.
“It’s real significant simply because it’s an unusual flag with the diamond box on the center star, and because the provenance is so strong on this,” Relic Room Director Allen Roberson said. “We’re pretty sure bullets went through this flag, and the granddaughter said there is blood on it.”