Civil War flag will be displayed at Albion library for special programs this month

Photo by Tom Rivers: Hoag Library this month will display this flag from an African-American unit that fought in the Civil War. The flag has 35 stars. That’s how many stars were on the flag for two years from 1863 to 1865.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 April 2019 at 9:42 am

Hoag is hosting several Civil War events in April

ALBION – A Civil War flag for a Colored Troops regiment will be on display this month at Hoag Library during special programs about the Civil War.

The library’s board of trustees on March 13 voted to have the flag sold through an auctioneer in Dallas, Texas. The flag hasn’t been sent away yet and will stay with the library through at least April.

The library wants to give people a chance to see the flag, which is in a deteriorated condition especially with the white stripes. Betty Sue Miller, the library director, said many people in the community have shared their opinion about whether the flag should stay or be sold.

“Many are commenting and they haven’t seen it,” she said.

The library board voted 5-0 to sell the flag, as long as it gets a minimum of $10,000. The board was concerned that restoring the flag would cost an estimated $8,000 to $10,000, and properly displaying it would cost additional expense.

The library is working with Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas, which wants to make the flag a showpiece item at an upcoming auction.

The flag for the 26th Regiment United States Colored Troops isn’t for a local unit. Those troops were based out of New York City, although County Historian Matt Ballard said they were led by a local white soldier, Charles H. Mattison of Barre.

Miller said she has reached out to the New York Public Library and also the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pa. to gauge their interest in the flag.

She is concerned the flag will continue to deteriorate if the library keeps it.

Photo courtesy of GCC: Derek Maxfield, left, is General Ulysses S. Grant and Tracy Ford is General William Tecumseh Sherman in a 45-minute theatrical “conversation” between the two Civil War generals for the Union. They will present “Now we stand by each other always”  on April 17 at Hoag Library.

Meanwhile, the Hoag Library Civil War series begins today at noon with Tea with Dee, a discussion led by historian Dee Robinson who will highlight some local women during the Civil War, including a doctor, a housewife and a spy.

The series is a collaboration with the Orleans County Historical Association. Other programs this month include:

• April 9 at 1 p.m. — Mark Jones discusses Civil War bands and bandsmen

• April 11 at 6:30 p.m. — Peter Turkow leads an open discussion about the Civil War

• April 16 at noon — Dr. John Daly, associate professor of History at the Brockport State, will give a presentation, “When did the Civil War end?”

• April 17 at 7 p.m. — GCC professors Derek Maxfield and Tracy Ford showcase an historic Civil War era meeting in a unique program entitled, “Now we stand by each other always; A conversation between Gens. Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman.” Ford plays the role of General Sherman and Maxfield is General Grant.

• April 22 at 7 p.m. — Albion resident and author Mike McFarland will discuss the Erie Canal during the Civil War.

• April 30 at 6 p.m. — Orleans County Historian Matt Ballard will discuss Civil War era Albion and Rufus Brown Bullock, an Albion resident who served as governor of Georgia during reconstruction from 1868 to 1871.

• May 4 at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. — People, Weapons & Dress of the Civil War featuring the 4th South Carolina Infantry Reenactors.

For more information, click here.

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