Framingham’s Civil War Flag
Framingham’s Civil War flag was brought
back from the war by the 13th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.
According to Temple’s History of Framingham,
14 men served in the 13th Mass . Tom Ellis, Framingham’s Civil War historian,
after further investigation, has determined there were 28. In his history
of the 13th Regiment , soldier Charles Davis noted that when the soldiers
of the 13th Regiment left Boston in July, 1861, on the Boston & Worcester
Railroad, their train passed through Framingham. They were greeted with
cannon and the ringing of church bells and "several thousand ladies
and gentlemen from area towns." The ten minute stop allowed the soldiers
to bid farewell to relatives and friends and replenish canteens. The
13th Mass served for three years and participated in most of the major
battles fought in the eastern theater, including the Second Battle of
Bull Run, Antietam, Spottsylvania, and Gettysburg. Many were wounded,
but only one was killed. He died the day after the Battle of Antietam
from injuries he received during the fighting.
When the 13th Regiment was mustered out
on August 1, 1864, it returned one set of colors, National and State,
to the Sergeant-at-Arms at the Boston State House, and breaking with
tradition, gave a second set to Mr. George Brown of Hogg, Brown, and
Taylor. This gesture was to show the men’s appreciation for Brown’s
continuous support. His Boston dry goods firm had provided $ 4,000 toward
the organization of the regiment, duplicate colors as needed, and a
$ 25 bounty and continued salaries for all employees who enlisted. The
firm also sent needed provisions to the front when the United States
came up short on supplies and salaries.
The National flag, a silk flag with 34
handpainted stars, was a feature of the dedication of Edgell Memorial
Library on February 22, 1873. Samuel H. Garfield, a veteran of the 13th
Regiment, carried the flag in the ceremonial procession. During the
dedication George Brown presented the flag to the town with the intent
the flag be preserved and displayed in the library. Newspaper articles
and a 60 page book "Services at the Dedication of the Memorial Library,
Framingham, Mass., February 22, 1873," published in 1873, report all
the proceedings and details about the library.
Last year the flag was removed from its
display case in the Edgell Memorial Library and examined by a textile
conservator. On November 11, 1999 Veteran’s Day the flag was ceremoniously
sent off to the Textile Conservation Laboratory at the American Textile
Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts. Through the efforts of the Framingham
Historical Society, it has been cleaned, stabilized, and mounted in
a new display case. A special display stand was made by Town Services
under the direction of Director Jim Egan.
Roger Heinen, of the Framingham Historical
Society, initiated the "Rally ‘Round the Flag" Fund to raise money towards
the $ 10,000 needed to treat and mount the flag. State Rep. John Stasik
made the initial contribution on Veteran’s Day, 1999. Heinen and Arny
Krane, editor of the Historical Society newsletter, in cooperation with
the United States Postal Service, developed a pictorial postal cancellation
and cachet in conjunction with the Civil War Encampment on April 28
- 30, 2000. Proceeds from the sale of the cachet benefit the flag fund.
Partial proceeds from a new book about
Framingham’s contributions to the Civil War effort, "Civil War Service
of the Men & Women of Framingham" by Tom A.C. Ellis will also benefit
the flag fund.
Donations to the flag fund may be sent
to the Framingham Historical Society, P.O. Box 2032, Framingham, MA
01703. Ellis’ book and the postal cachet are sold in the Historical
Society’s museum shop. Price is $ 30 for the book and $ 3.00 for the
postal cachet. -- Debbie Cleveland
May 2001 Update: Ellis' book is sold out. Some postal cachets are still
September 2001 Update: The "Rally 'Round the Flag" Campaign
has successfully concluded. All the funds needed have been raised.