Showtime: Virginia

Battle flags are centerpiece of Gettysburg show

 

Associated Press

Among the swords, the wrenching letters home and the haunting photographs in the Museum of the Confederacy’s new exhibit on Gettysburg, few artifacts embody the ferocious battle more than the eight battle flags recovered from the bloodied fields where Pickett’s Charge was fought.

The men who carried them were first in the line of fire, and the flag was coveted by the enemy. If the color bearer fell, it was expected another soldier would pick it up. For the 7th Virginia Infantry alone, nine men were lost at Gettysburg holding the St. Andrew’s Cross.

“Capturing the flag was a pretty big deal, or losing your flag was a bigger deal,” said Robert Hancock, senior curator at the Richmond museum. “Color bearers made a nice target because they were bearing the big red flag. You did not want to let that flag go.”

The flags, among more than 500 in the museum’s extensive collection, are the centerpiece of Gettysburg: They walked through blood, which marks the 150th year since the Battle of Gettysburg. The exhibit focuses on Gen. George Pickett’s Virginia Division and the doomed charge on Union Maj. George G. Meade’s union positions on Cemetery Ridge on July 3, 1863.

The battle involved more than 12,000 Confederate soldiers who attempted to advance over fields for three quarters of a mile amid unrelenting fire from Union forces. More than half of the South’s soldiers were killed or injured in a battle that forever bruised the psyche of the South.

The exhibit offers Civil War buffs plenty to see, including a large map detailing the battle, but Hancock said the show is also intended to humanize this chapter of history.

“We try to get the audience to connect a little bit more with the individuals and what happened to them later on,” he said. “That’s one reason we put the photographs in, so you can see a face, attach a face to an object.”

There is a photo of Edward Estes, along with a letter addressed “Dear Sis.” He wrote of the carnage: “God forbid that I should ever see another such bloody field.” Of Pickett, the Pittsylvania County man wrote to his sister in Maryland, “When he came out and saw how few of us were left he wept like a child, & said he wished they of killed him too.”

A letter from a Union surgeon written to the family of a Confederate soldier said he had “suffered considerable pain, but wore it with fortitude and patience I have never seen equaled.” He also told the soldier’s family where he was buried.

•  Gettysburg: They walked through blood: Runs through September of 2014 at The Museum of the Confederacy, 1201 E. Clay St., Richmond; 855-649-1861; www.moc.org. Open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission $10 adults, $8 age 62+, $6 age 7-13.

Read more Travel stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
This mural is a collaboration between New Zealand artist Tanja Jade and Australia artist Dabs Myla, on the wall and alleyway of a car dealership in Kakaako, in Honolulu.

    Hawaii

    Street art is the draw in Honolulu’s Kakaako

    Honolulu is famous for gold-sand beaches and big waves. But the city’s warehouse district, called Kakaako, is famous for a different sort of attraction. You won’t find kitschy Hawaiian souvenir shops or hordes of tourists here, but you will find a thriving urban arts scene, with colorful street murals so big they stretch across walls and sometimes entire sides of buildings.

  •  
The number of smartphone and tablet apps that allow a user to search for and bid on the lowest prices for upscale hotel rooms has dramatically increased in recent years. Using them, along with third-party booking sites like Kayak.com and the hotel's own app or website, can net travelers some surprising savings.

    Travelwise

    Battle of the apps: last-minute deals on upscale hotels

    If last-minute hotel booking apps make you think of impetuous travelers on a budget, think again. The market for such apps and websites is becoming increasingly crowded, making it easier for those looking for upscale hotels to find eleventh-hour discounts.

  •  
A campsite at Floyd Bennett Field, an airport-turned-campground in south Brooklyn, New York.

    New York

    Camping in Brooklyn — who knew?

    When telling people that I would be camping in Brooklyn — yes, that Brooklyn, the borough of New York — a swift, two-pronged response usually followed.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK



  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category