JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - The flag of the 4th Mississippi Infantry dogged Union General Grant's rise to fame being on the side against him while he was still a rather obscure officer at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson prior to Shiloh. And then again at Port Gibson and the last stand at the Big Black River before Vicksburg. It even had a taste of success fending off Sherman at Chickasaw Bayou, the only battle Sherman lost.
This is one of six Civil War battle flags on display right now in the lobby of the William Winter Building in downtown Jackson as a taste of what is being done with the flags in the Archive's flag collection in preparation for the new State History Museum scheduled to open along with the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in 2017, the 200th anniversary of Mississippi's statehood.
This flag and many other restored Civil War flags will find their way to their new, last home when the new history museum opens in five years. The Sons of Confederate Veterans raised the money to restore the 66 Civil War flags in the state's collection of 155 flags. The others are mostly various U.S. flags, many newer. But there's one older, very rare U.S. flag in the collection with strong Mississippi ties that Cindy Gardner, director of collections for Archives and History's Museum Division, says will be the star of the show after it is preserved.
"One of our most important flags that we have is the 20 star flag," said Gardner.
This 20-star American flag only flew one year in 1818. That's the year after Mississippi put that 20th star there by becoming the 20th state in 1817. And so by 2017, the bicentennial of Mississippi's state hood, Archives and History Department would love to have this flag completely restored. It's only going to cost about $50,000 if anybody wants to pony up and help out.
"But before the bicentennial, we will also travel the flag around the state for the bicentennial and get people excited about coming to visit the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum," said Gardner.
All that's needed is raise the funds and then get our name of the waiting list of the experts who do this sort of restoration.