New day for Old Dixie
by Marcus E. Howard
mhoward@mdjonline.com
March 12, 2012 12:54 AM | 10978 views | 34 34 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Melinda Senn, left, museum curator, and Dena Bush, right, director of operations, hold up a rare 65th Georgia Infantry battle flag that was recently returned to the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History after a 13-month restoration process. <br> Photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
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KENNESAW — A rare Confederate battle flag recently returned home to Cobb County following repairs in West Virginia.

In February 2010, the 65th Georgia Infantry flag — complete with 41 bullet holes and blood stains — first came into the possession of Kennesaw’s Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History. After a thorough conservation process over 13 months, the flag is now being prepared for public viewing.

“It went through quite an ordeal to be restored and conserved to come back to us,” said Melinda Senn, the museum’s curator.

An exhibit featuring the flag, and an accompanying history of battle flags, will be unveiled at the museum on July 23.

Dr. Richard Banz, museum executive director, said the flag will serve as the centerpiece of an ongoing dialogue about the causes and outcomes of the Civil War.

The conservation process was handled by Textile Preservation Associates, which specializes in historic artifacts, in Ranson, W.Va.

“Over time, the flag had undergone multiple repairs using different fabrics sewn together with the flag,” said Senn. “Sometimes the repairs had caused the flag to crease up.”

As part of the conservation treatment, a humidifier was used remove the creases and some previous repairs were removed. The flag was also vacuumed, flattened with glass weights and air-dried before being placed in a custom-built frame designed to preserve it.

While undergoing this process, the flag significantly increased in size, up to 6 inches in some areas, Senn said. She said an intensive analysis was also conducted, including a blood test.

The entire restoration project and display is estimated to cost $15,000. About $5,800 has already been raised. The museum will recognize contributors of $350 or more within the new display.

The flag was donated to the museum by members of the Davis family of Alabama. It had been passed down for 145 years through generations of the family since their great-great-grandfather, 65th Georgia Infantry color bearer Private John Davis, brought it home from the Civil War.

Siblings Don Davis, Pete Davis, both of Alabama, and Rhonda Davis of Tennessee, donated the flag to the museum in downtown Kennesaw because they thought it was appropriate to share it.

Through a telegram and soldiers letters, Gregg Biggs, a Tennessee historian of Civil War flags, pinpointed the flag’s birth to Augusta in January 1864.

Interestingly, although the Confederacy lost the war, the flag was not surrendered.

John Davis carried it rolled up and tucked into his boot to save it from capture or destruction, according to historians.

The flag had been carried by its unit throughout the Atlanta campaign, traveling with the Confederacy’s principal army in the western theater, the Army of Tennessee, after the fall of Atlanta to the Union. The 65th Georgia regiment, which was part of the Army of Tennessee, would have been composed of about 1,000 soldiers.

It was also carried on November 30, 1864, at the Battle of Franklin in Tennessee, an engagement in which one-quarter of the 27,000-man army was killed or wounded in three hours, including six generals.

John Davis was the final color bearer for the flag at the Battle of Franklin. But the blood stains are believed by historians to have come from its first color bearer, William Martin. When Martin was killed at Franklin, the regiment’s commander, Capt. William G. Foster, picked up the banner and was quickly wounded. That’s when Davis is said to have taken it up.

To carry such a flag in war was a unique honor, said Dr. Keith Bohannon, a University of West Georgia associate professor of history.

He said the regimental flag would have been a symbol of a unit and served practically as a rallying point during the chaos of war, amongst the fighting soldiers and smoky battlefield.

“Only an individual who was known for bravery would be allowed to carry the flag and the flag bearer was someone who ran great personal risk in battle because it was pretty typical for flag bearers to get shot,” said Bohannon, who specializes in southern history.

Given its difficult journey through history, the 65th Georgia Infantry flag is indeed rare and valuable, Bohannon said. Many Confederate units would tear their flags into pieces and distribute them, as opposed to surrendering them, he said.

“This flag always has been and always will be a very divisive symbol and it means very different things to different people today,” Bohannon said.

“For some white Georgians, it’s a symbol of history and their ancestor’s sacrifices. But for many other people, particularly African-Americans or people who might have moved to Georgia, it doesn’t have the same kind of symbolism. And it’s instead a symbol of slavery, racism, Jim Crow, the (Ku Klux) Klan and all that. But it’s an extraordinary powerful symbol regardless of the way that you look at it.”
Comments
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Too funny
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March 13, 2012
Slavery was the central issue of the Civil War. To suggest otherwise is to suspend history in favor of delusion.
southernlady50
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March 13, 2012
This flag represents a heritage that I am proud to be part of. The Civil War was a terrible part of our American history & should never be forgotten. Brother against brother, millions of lives lost here on this soil. Slavery was just a small part of the war, but sadly this is used again & again as the reason for war. Just read the history of the civil war; more to it than slavery and slavery actually was more northern than southern. Northerner's brought the ships in, not the south.
ienmey
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July 06, 2012
Well written southern lady 50. Slavery is about as low as a society can go in disgraceful conduct but slavery was only an excuse for economic gain as is usual for most wars.
dixie boy
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March 12, 2012
Reading these posts makes you realize why the south consistantly rates at the bottom in education and any other measure of human progress. If ignorance is truly bliss the south must truly be nirvana.
Too funny
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March 12, 2012
I'm betting a lot of the people posting in this thread have fully stocked underground survival bunkers.
Eye-roll
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March 12, 2012
I'm pretty sure the people that fought so hard for the right to kidnap and enslave another group of people are burning in hell today.
loss of respect
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March 12, 2012
Your ignorance is frightening. The Confederates didn't kidnap and enslave Africans. The Africans did that to each other. Blacks sold their oversupply of blacks to the Yankee slave traders, who got tired of the problem and sold it South.



The trick of connecting the Confederacy with the origins of slavery doesn't work any more. We aren't guilty and we proudly self assert.

The ante-bellum South was constantly trying to figure out how to get rid of their slaves without being massacred in the process.

If you want to see racism, look at the Deep North. They wanted to keep blacks in the South because they didn't want blacks living anywhere near them, sort of like yankees today.

Burning in hell? So you say the Africans who kidnapped, enslaved, and sold their cousin tribes to the Whites are burning in hell? Only a raciss would imply that blacks don't make it to Heaven on the strength of their vibrant Diversity alone, and MLK 365/24/7.

R. Daniel
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March 12, 2012
You almost wrote a good article. If you had left the last two paragraphs off it would have been accurate. Whatdoes this Dr. Bohannon use as a source to show that the flag "always has been and always will be" a very devisive symbol? Always is a long time and very is relative. And, I would suggest that to MOST Georgians that flag represents the brave Southern soldiers and sailors and those white and black that took care of home while they were away.

If you are going to talk about the KKK and their misuse of the flag, you also have to include the Federal flag and the Christian flag-they used them too.
Don'travius
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March 12, 2012
If he's going to talk about the KKK, he needs to mention that when lynching was legal, only about 2500-3000 total were lynched, some Whites.

Since the end of lynching, multiple thousands of Whites have been killed by the "Diversity".

The KKK was mild compared to the war on Whites that is increasing in intensity. Why not mention of that. Does Bohannan take walks alone through downtown Atlanta, Birmingham, New Orleans, Houston, Columbia, Nashville, Detroit, or Baltimore alone at night? Why not?

Can he explain the Zebra Killings, the Knoxville Horror, the Pearcy Massacre, Emily Haddock, Anne Pressley, Eve Carson, Julie Love, Jennifer Ross, Brittney Fox Watts, etc. without blaming Whitey and our attachment to our noble Confederate heroes?

He's an assistant professor. He knows that if he wants to be a full professor, he must blame Whitey for all black failures, including the failure to resist their weakness for killing White girls.
Lee Ivester
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March 13, 2012
I believe you are misconstruing Dr. Bohannon's remarks. In my opinion, he is simply stating facts, not necessarily his own view of the flag. Unfortunately, the flag has been divisive and is viewed by many as a racist symbol. I say unfortunately because as a native South Carolinian and member of the SCV, I view the flag as a symbol of bravery, conviction and sacrifice, as do many others.
R Daniel
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March 13, 2012
My point was, the comments didn't need to be included in the article. The news is that the museum has restored and will put on display a historic flag. That calls for no "interpretation" by some liberal socialist as to his feelings about the flag. It added nothing to the story and as you can see by the comments, actually took away from it. The other part of my comment is that this guy makes assertians as to what is and isn't fact with nothing to back it up. This is a common ploy by these type people - once it is in print, it becomes fact.
WestCobber
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March 12, 2012
We can't dismiss the past - especially the worst parts of it. Otherwise we learn nothing from it.

We have WWII museums with Nazi memorabilia in it. Believe me, NO ONE gets more emotional than a Jewish person who sees a flag with a Swastika on it. While I will personally never understand how anyone could see the Rebel Flag as a symbol that's positive, the fact is, as a historic artifact, it has a place in a museum.

Now - the $15,000.00 restoration price? Um - no. It should be an "as-is" piece, preserved in it's special case, and no more.
KSUgirl
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March 12, 2012


"Dr. Richard Banz, museum executive director, said the flag will serve as the centerpiece of an ongoing dialogue about the causes and outcomes of the Civil War."

That's just typical code for "the South only seceded to keeps it's slaves, and Lincoln had the moral authority to bring the South back into the Union so the slaves could be free."

The dialogue is "ongoing" because the Diversity worshippers make a good living keeping it going, but the case was closed by Albert Taylor Bledsoe in his Is Davis a Traitor? book. After a few lawyers in the North read it, nobody would put Davis on trial for treason because they knew they'd lose. Let's see Banz start a dialogue about that.

The cause of the War was Lincoln's hateful anti-American tyranny. The outcome was Obama-Holder's "transformation of America." Now, the DOJ makes it illegal for states to know who is voting in our elections.

Will we pay taxes to governments elected by the votes of illegal aliens and felons? That's where we are headed. That's the seed of the next civil war.

The outcome of 1865 loss of freedom and liberty. Banz needs to recognize and acknowledge that.

“This flag always has been and always will be a very divisive symbol and it means very different things to different people today,” Bohannon said.

“For some white Georgians, it’s a symbol of history and their ancestor’s sacrifices. But for many other people, particularly African-Americans or people who might have moved to Georgia, it doesn’t have the same kind of symbolism. And it’s instead a symbol of slavery, racism, Jim Crow, the (Ku Klux) Klan and all that. But it’s an extraordinary powerful symbol regardless of the way that you look at it.”

The flag only has ONE meaning: what it meant to the soldiers who fought under it- fighting to defend the South from the Yankee invaders.

Those who complain about other uses of the flag by groups they hate only do so because it sounds good and gets them promotions and tenure.

This flag is a sacred relic, and we reject and scorn those who use it for political and social power.

How many of them are signing HUD petitions to bring Section 8 voucher residents, i.e. the Diversity, into THEIR neighborhoods? How many of them are exporting their own non-Diverse selves into "vulnerable and at risk communities" so that they can "give back" and "make the world a better, more inclusive and welcoming place for all"? Hateful liberals who deride our flag practice soft segregation as much as they can get away with it. We know who they are by how they act.

You won't find a better explanation of the types who want "dialogue about the causes and outcomes of the war" and the powerful players who agreed to KSU's Holocaust Museum than the recent article at Faith and Heritage that explains Public Displays of Piety as the means of status for some.

When will KSU get its Slavery and Civil Rights Museum? Why did the Holocaust come first?

naacp
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March 12, 2012
Ignorance like that is why we need to make displays of Confederte fetisches a hate crime.

Worshipping the Confederacy is the last gasp effort of the white community to rationalize their coming status as a minority in America. The future mayors, governors, legislatures, presidents, judges and juries, and especially the police and army will soon relfect the enriching global Diversity that we should all embrace.

Unti then, KSUgrl and others of her club need recognized the pain they cause society by their bitterly clinging to their diminishing White privilege. You need to read more Tim Wise books.

You need to atone for the sins of segregation by holding yourelf accountable to people of color for your unearned white privileges.

We are keeping a list of those who do the right thing and those who don't. You don't want to be on the wrong list. Embrace Diversity is your only choice. It's not your America anymore.

C. W. Roden
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March 12, 2012
Actually naacp, you are right about one part, its not "your America"...no its not YOUR America or MY America, its OUR AMERICA...or at least its supposed to be.

You say that KSUgrl and others (including me) cause society pain....how? By displaying and honoring a flag that represents to many a living symbol of cultural identity and heraldry? By placing in on graves and monuments? How exactly do such actions hold anyone down or cause anyone pain?

The only pain caused by the sight of that flag is in the hands of those who abuse it for the wrongs you mentioned, but who do not represent the 99% of Southern men and women who do honor it. Only the ignorant and uninformed are offended these days.

It sounds to me like YOU sir (or ma'am) are the bitter clinger with dreams of social conformity under globalist ideals of "diversity" ...an contradictions since in order to embrace proper diversity, everyone must be accepted, including those who honor that flag, or the term means nothing.

And finally, let me close by saying that if you are indeed keeping an enemies list, here's a name for you: Carl W. Roden, Chester County, South Carolina, USA, come get some when you grow a pair.
Californian
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March 12, 2012
Angry rants by people like naacp serve only to throw cold water on the intelligent dialogue attempted by others. In addition, her/his insistence that modern day white people need to atone for anything done in the past is tiresome and only causes further divide.

I applaud the museum for having this historical item restored for display. It is indeed a rare item and it is exciting to be able to see it! My fear is that there are people like naacp who would rather burn it or otherwise see it destroyed.

I look forward to contributing to this historical item.
jenny k
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March 12, 2012
I find it offensive that it is suggested that you have to be a "white Georgian" as quoted in the last chapter of the article, to recognize the historical significance and sacrifice that go along with this flag. It's a part of history and after reading the story of the man bringing it all the way home while hiding it, risking his life, is truly amazing no matter what your race.
Luek
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March 12, 2012
I'd a lot rather read this very interesting story about the preservation and history of this invaluable relic than I would yet another article about Whitney Houston.
anonymous
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March 12, 2012
$15,000!!!! Give me a break! There are people starving in Africa!
Mr. McCoy
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March 12, 2012
That sounds like a problem for the people of Africa to work out among themselves.
KSUgirl
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March 12, 2012
Starvation in Africa is not our responsibility. Every time an African is born, you do not take on any moral liability. Your money isn't suppose to be spent trying to stop Africans from being African. Keep your money and home and prepare yourself for the struggles ahead. Africa won't do anything for you when you need help.
anonymous
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March 12, 2012
Starvation in Africa is not our responsibility. Every time an African is born, you do not take on any moral or Christian liability. Your money isn't suppose to be spent trying to stop Africans from being African. Keep your money and home and prepare yourself for the struggles ahead. Africa won't do anything for you when you need help
R Daniel
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March 13, 2012
Those folks have been starving ever since I was a kid-and I'm 65 now. You would think all those salmon croquettes I refused to eat would have gotten them over the hump.
What the!?
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March 12, 2012
What an amazing piece of tangible history. The flag's back story and how it came to survive both the war and decades since the war make for great reading.

...and I'm a Yankee!
C.W. Roden
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March 12, 2012
Bless you sir!
rjsnh
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March 12, 2012
This flag is a part of our history and should be preserved as a reminder of a past of which we should not be proud.
Mr. McCoy
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March 12, 2012
Why shouldn't we be proud of our Confederate history? I'm more proud of that than I am the yankee empire's history.
KSUgirl
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March 12, 2012
More than that, it never was surrendered. No Yankee ever used it in a triumphal parade up North. It retains it purity.

It still contains the essence of the Christian Confederacy in an untainted form. We will make our pilgrimage to we with it on Sundays after church, for it is Holy unto God.
anonymous
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May 19, 2012
It was preserved ..... in my husbands grave ... where he wanted it .... but, his 3 adult children had the grave opened up & flag taken from their dead fathers arms. The flag should not be unveiled & put on display ... It was used in many Klan Rallies & I think it is sicking to have it on display & to spend money on it ???? makes me even sicker. Maybe they were trying to get the death smell off it. RIP James D Davis, greatgrandson of John Davis
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