Wool machine sewn U.S. flag with thirty-four white cotton stars in the canton (four rows of seven stars, one row (top) of six); thirteen red and white stars; white cotton hoist strung through with bast rope.
This is probably the flag flown by the U.S. Navy Gunboat "Samuel L. Brewster," a former New York steam tug, during a Civil War skirmish in 1864. Under the command of Major General Charles Graham of New York, the "Brewster" led a brigade of gunboats, transports, and navy ships up the James River in May 1864. The "Brewster" participated in an attack on Fort Clifton and was hit by a shell that penetrated her boiler and killed four army crewmen. General Graham ordered that the "Brewster" be burned, but he salvaged its U.S. flag and kept it among his personal possessions. He later presented the "sacred and glorious relic" to the Historical Society on March 6, 1866.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
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New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street)
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