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Framingham's Tercentennial

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 available.

September 2001 Update: The "Rally 'Round the Flag" Campaign has successfully concluded. All the funds needed have been raised.


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