For more information and details about these specific flags and lecture   contact   David G. Martin at .
NJ Civil War Flag Rotation
STORIED NEW JERSEY CIVIL WAR FLAGS TO BE UNVEILED JULY 22 IN TRENTON Historic New Jersey Civil War Flags on Display At The State Museum In Trenton until December 2023 (Trenton, NJ - July 5, 2023) - Don’t miss a chance to see historic battle flags carried by New Jersey troops in the Civil War over 150 years ago! New Jersey contributed over 80,000 men to the fight and the New Jersey State Museum has over 100 flags carried by New Jersey’s troops in the war in its collection. Five of these historic flags will be unveiled in specially designed exhibit cases at the New Jersey State Museum Gallery located at 225 West State Street in Trenton at 10 AM on Saturday, July 22, 2023 . The flags gallery exhibit area is located at the right rear of the main first floor of the museum. Free off-street parking is available adjacent to the museum. The flags to be unveiled for display are some of the most distinctive in the collection, and they have not been on display for almost ten years. Included will be the national colors of the 3rd and 15th Infantry regiments, the state colors of the 33rd Infantry regiment, a guidon from the 3rd Cavalry, and a rare headquarters flag from the Second New Jersey Brigade. One of these flags bears a unique butterfly emblem – come and find out which and why! Over 20 members of the 15th New Jersey’s color guard fell dead or wounded during the bloody battles of 1864 while defending their flag to be displayed. The regimental flag of the 33rd Infantry regiment is especially interesting because it was captured by Confederates at the battle of Atlanta in July 1864 and then was recaptured by New Jersey Union troops in North Carolina in May 1865. The gallery also features a rotating exhibition including Civil War firearms, equipment, photographs, and military documents. A new display case will feature original pen and ink water color drawings of a Civil War veterans gathering in Deckertown (Sussex County). The Union veteran who made them lost his right arm in the war and taught himself to draw left- handed. These sketches belong to the museum and have never before been exhibited. Also on display will be a Civil War surgeon’s kit, to commemorate the suffering of wounded soldiers. Organized by the New Jersey State Museum and the New Jersey Civil War Heritage Association, the unveiling event will feature an educational gallery walk by flag historian Dr. David Martin, author of the award-winning New Jersey at Gettysburg Guidebook. He is currently preparing a detailed history of the State’s Civil War flags for publication. The exhibit was prepared by Nicholas Ciotola, Curator of Cultural History at the New Jersey State Museum. These flags will be shown until late December 2023, when a new group of flags will be put on display.
When: Saturday, July 22, 2023. Flags lecture and gallery talk from 10 AM to 11 AM What: New Jersey Civil War Flag Exhibition Where: NJ State Museum Gallery, 225 West State Street, Trenton, NJ Cost: FREE, Open to the Public, No Reservations Needed
This flag is one of the most significant in the collection. It was captured by the Confederates during intense fighting at Atlanta on July 20, 1864. After being kept in a museum in Richmond, it was evacuated in April 1865 and was recaptured by troops of the 9 th NJ Infantry in North Carolina on May 7, 1865. The 33 rd Infantry was raised in the late summer of 1863, primarily in the northeastern portion of the state, and was trained at Newark's Camp Frelinghuysen. It was mustered in on September 3, 1863 for three years' service and was one of the few New Jersey units to be sent to the western theater of the war, where it fought in Tennessee, Georgia and the Carolinas as part of the 20 th Corps. The regimental color lost by the 33 rd at Peach Tree Creek was first presented to the regiment at elaborate ceremonies held on 19 January 1864. The flag been completed sometime before, but owing to the movements of the regiment id did not catch up with the 33 rd until the command went into winter quarters after its return to Chattanooga from Knoxville. It was made of silk, with the arms of the state of New Jersey on one side and the national arms on the other; under each was a scroll with the legend, "Presented by New Jersey to her 33d Regiment"- The presentation was made on a beautiful day in the regiment's camp near Lookout Mountain. The keynote speaker was General Howard, who "compliment the regiment for its gallant behavior and firm endurance throughout the engagements and marches of the past campaign, and predicted for the flag a speedy and triumphant march on the approaching Spring." Howard's "lengthy, animated and patriotic speech" stirred the men of the 33 rd , many of whom felt the significance of receiving it after the regiment had been christened in battle. "Had it been received when it was sent, its presentation might have passed unnoticed, but coming to us as it did, after the flag side by side with which it is to float, had received its baptism of blood its presentation had a significance felt by each and all." William Lambert continued in his letter to the Newark Daily Advertiser, "We thanked the State, through the General, for kind remembrance of us. We shall strive to think it in deeds more expressive than words in the future, and we trust that ere many months are ended, we shall return it to Trenton whence it came tattered, soiled it may be but with no stain nor rent to which we cannot point with pride; with no mark, with no association which shall cause the State to regret having inscribed upon its silken folds the name of Her 33d Regiment." The 33 rd 's fancy new regimental flag was to have a quite different fate than its recipients anticipated. At the battle of Peach Tree Creek at Atlanta, on July 20, 1864, the 33 rd had the misfortune of being assigned to hold a "high, narrow. Timbered hill" some 500 yards in front of the main line. Their purpose was to secure it for a battery to be placed in position. Once they arrived, the men stacked arms and began working on fortifications, before long their position was overwhelmed by a major Confederate attack that was totally unexpected. The enemy poured around and behind the 33 rd . The men refused to surrender and began fighting their way to the rear, taking casualties all the way. Upon entering a ravine, the color guard stopped because they believed a halt had been ordered. The delay was deadly. The bearer of the state flag went down, and other members of the color guard also fell casualty. The state flag, No. 92, was captured by John Abernathy of the 27 th Alabama, and could not be recovered. An inscription was attached to the flag. "Captured by John E. Abernathy of Company E, Twenty-seventh Alabama Regiment in the fight of July 20 th , 1864." The Confederate attack as eventually repulsed when it hit the main Union line, but it was too late for the 33 rd , 21 were killed or mortally wounded, 16 were wounded, and 8 were missing — 50 losses out of --- engaged. The loss of the state flag was reported to the Newark Daily Advertiser ' 'with deepest regret, but without shame or sense of disgrace." Lt. Col. Fouratt wrote to the state adjutant general, "We feel it to be no fault of ours." Indeed, everyone agreed that the flag was lost through honorable circumstances. General Hooker said, "It is no disgrace to lose a color under such circumstances. I only wonder that a man escaped capture." Fouratt concluded, "The regiment feels sad over the loss of its beautiful State flag, but with all we feel glad that not a taint of cowardice or dishonor attends its loss. No regiment was ever more proud of its flag than the Thirty-third, none ever fought more desperately to preserve it — but it was impossible." An alternate version of the flag's capture in the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph on July 22, 1864. "When the works were stormed, a magnificent flag was discovered flouting in the breeze amid the storm of battle. And a number of men sprang forward to capture the coveted prize, but Private John H. Badgett, of Company G, 27 th Alabama, outstripped the rest and grappling with the color bearer wrested it from him and brought it to the rear, and after delivering it up returned to his post. The flag was a beautiful one and belonged to the 33d New Jersey infantry, of Hooker's corps. The conduct of young Badgett is highly spoken of during the entire affair." From Atlanta the 33 rd 's lost flag was sent to Richmond, where it was probably stored with other captured flags at the Virginia state capitol or in the Confederate War Department. It would have remained there until the last days of the war, when most of the captured flags were boxed up along with other government valuables for shipment out of Richmond. A Confederate resolution passed on 27 May 1864 the President to remove the county's archives and executive departments to such places he might if conditions another similar act was passed on 14 1865. Approximately 84 boxes of government papers and stores, including five boxes marked "Captured flags," found their way to Charlotte, North Carolina. There they were captured on the evening of 7 May by the troops of Company G, 9 th New Jersey infantry, commanded by Captain Morris C. Runyon. Runyon had been sent to take possession of Charlotte, and found the town in commotion, with rebel soldiers all over, many of them drunk. Among the vast quantity of Confederate stores he found were "a number of boxes said to contain the records of the so-called Southern Confederacy; also boxes said to contain all the colors and battle-flags captured from the National forces since the beginning of the war." Runyon and his men could not resist breaking open some of the boxes to see what was there. To his great delight, the captain at once came upon the regimental flag of the 33 rd New Jersey. Lieutenant George Peters of Company G, 9 th New Jersey, noted that, "Out of a large number of flags and trophies, taken from our forces during the whole of the war, Captain Runyon picked the state colors of the Thirty-third New Jersey regiment, intending to forward the same to the adjutant-general of the state of New Jersey." Runyon put guards on the captured records and supplies, but he was soon relieved of his command by a staff officer sent for that purpose by Major General John M. Schofield. Captain Runyon turned over his command at Charlotte to Brigadier General Minor T. Thomas on 12 May, and, pursuant to orders, returned with his command to regimental headquarters at Greensboro the next day. Runyon then entrusted the recaptured regimental flag of the 33 rd New Jersey to Private Herman Evarts of Company G of the 9 th with instructions to deliver it to New Jersey Adjutant General Richard Stockton in Trenton. Evarts completed his mission on Saturday, 24 June 1865. "They will be deposited with the colors of other regiments of this State, there to remain a perpetual memorial of the courage and endurance of the 'Jersey Blues' ", reported the Trenton Daily State Gazette on June 26, 1865. Accompanying the flag were two notations. The first read, "Captured by John E. Abernathy, of Company E, Twenty-seventh Alabama Regiment in the fight of July 20 th , 1864." The second read, "Retaken by Captain MG. Runyon of Company G, Ninth New Jersey Volunteers, at Charlotte, North Carolina, May, 1865." This historic and much-traveled flag survives today as No. 92 in the New Jersey State House Flag Collection. © Dr. David Martin, revised 6/2023 For more information on the recovery of the Union Flags and Captain Runyan see: “Eight Days with the Confederates and Capture of Their Archive, Flags, &c by Captain Morris C Runyan, Company G, Ninth New Jersey Vol.”
The Fascinating History of the 33rd New Jersey Infantry Regimental Flag Currently On Display in Trenton By Dr. David Martin
New Jersey Civil War Heritage Assn PO Box 442, Wood-Ridge, NJ 07075
33rd NJ wore Zouave Uniforms throughout the War. Click on photo to enlarge