Back in the beginning days of America's Civil War, the women of the
small town of Marlette, Michigan, in the very heart of the Thumb
wanted to show their support of President Lincoln and the Union
forces in some small way. They collectively designed and sewed a
huge Union flag of 34 stars, four rows of eight with an extra star
at the end in between each two rows. This precious flag was then
given to a gentleman they knew who lived just to the south who was
leaving for the war. Color Sergeant Thomas Henry Sheppard's story,
along with that of the Battle Flag of Company E, First Michigan
Cavalry, is one of the most incredible true stories to ever come
out of the Civil War. The Detroit Free Press back in the 1880's
called it "an episode of the Civil War which has a strong coloring
of Romance," as the Press told of how the colors of the First
Michigan Cavalry were protected as the red, white and blue bunting
became more and more tattered and sun-faded and bullet-ridden, and
still the flag "assumed a dignity and interest even beyond that
which the colors have of their own right to every loyal man."
Thomas' account intersects with the lives of two of the War's most
famous Generals and is written by a close relative of the third.
The Color Sergeant took the colors and with his regiment carried
them to the front lines where they saw hot service, and from which
many did not return. In his words, the 1st Michigan "fought through
the Shenandoah, on Banks' advance and retreat, in the campaigns of
Pope and Burnside, and did yeoman service at the Battle of
Gettysburg. They were under fire twice at Winchester, at
Middletown, Strasburg, Harrisonburg, Occoquan and Thoroughfare
Gap." Sheppard and his flag survived 13 major battles, over 100
skirmishes and 16 months of war. Thomas, following right behind his
flamboyant new General Custer, led the First Michigan Cavalry into
the most famous cavalry charge of the entire war as they stopped
the Confederacy short of their certain victory in Pickett's Charge
at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. Alas, Thomas and his beloved flag
went down in that fight, and he became a Prisoner-of-War, spending
the next 505 days in prisons of the South, including that Hell
hole, ANDERSONVILLE. While all that is stunning enough, the rest of
Sheppard's story is almost beyond belief.as many years later he has
a chance encounter with the Civil War's most famous Volunteer
General "Black Jack" Logan at the train station in Marlette during
Logan's whistle-stop campaign for the Vice-Presidency of the United
States. Thomas' precious flag with 72 bullet holes.that old flag is
now the proudest possession of the Dearborn Historical Museum, in
the Commandant's Quarters at the Detroit Arsenal, now Sgt. John S.
Cosbey Camp 427, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW),
where Thomas and the First Michigan Cavalry received their war
supplies. He kept the colors.
Is the information for this product incomplete, wrong or inappropriate?
Let us know about it.
Does this product have an incorrect or missing image?
Send us a new image.
Is this product missing categories?
Add more categories.
Review This Product
No reviews yet - be the first to create one!