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History of the 6th North Carolina State Troops

Regimental Flag

by Historian Rick Walton

Adapted from Appendix A "The Bloody Sixth" by Richard W. Iobst

After the war, the original flag of the Sixth Regiment, the same flag which had been carefully made of silk in 1861 and decorated
with the North Carolina state seal and motto, was preserved by Colonel Tate, the last colonel of the regiment. On November 11, 1893, Colonel Tate wrote to Miss Christine Fisher, sister of the late Colonel Charles F. Fisher:

"A Committee consisting of W. C. Coughenhour, J. A. Caldwell,
Cicero R. Barker and A. H. Boyden, representing, the, "Colonel
Charles F. Fisher Camp U. C. V. No. 319," have applied to me
in writing, requesting the delivery to them of the Flag of the
6th North Carolina Infantry, presented to the regiment by you,
through your honored brother our lamented commander.
This flag was never polluted by the touch of an enemy nor
"trailed in the dust," but was always advanced as far as the
farthest, and is the only Confederate flag planted upon the
enemy's Guns on Cemetery Heights, at Gettysburg! In my own
bosom, afterwards, this flag was safely preserved and has not
since been out of my possession until I proposed securing it in
a glass case and depositing it with the State. North Carolina
honors it above any relic of the Great Conflict, and in justice to
the memory of our lamented dead and your honored self, I feel
that it should be placed in the care of the State, that all North
Carolinians may view it, read its history and gain inspiration from it."

Rare reverse view of flag showing "DEEDS NOT WORDS"
6th North Carolina State Troops, Regimental Flag

Click to see larger view Fisher Flag

Courtesy of the North Carolina Museum of History

Colonel Tate informed Miss Fisher that the only portions of the "once beautiful" flag that were still intact were the handiwork "of your deft fingers." The remnants of the flag were rent with "shot and shell, dyed with the blood of its defenders;" the Lord Himself had decreed that the flag "should be unharmed."

Tate assured the anxious Miss Fisher that he had been "but the poor representative" of the men who had fallen under the folds of the flag. The survivors of the regiment, who had suffered in the

flag's defense, loved "this flag above all earthly possessions." Tate concluded, in a tone of confidence and humility, in keeping with the occasion,

I desire to manifest all respect for the wishes and proper affection for the representatives of my dear lamented friend and Commander, but I respectfully suggest that it will be best for them and for all concerned that this relic, with its history, be sacredly preserved by the State, here, where it can be seen and read of all men. Several days later Christine Fisher replied to Tate's letter of November 11. She thanked the colonel for his sentiments of "regard for my brother and respect for myself which you express." The members of the committee who had applied to Tate for the flag had done so with the consent and approval of Colonel Fisher's daughter, Frances Fisher Tiernan [also known by her pen name Christian Reid]. Christine Fisher hoped that the flag would be returned to the possession of Colonel Fisher's family, but, "at least," would be glad to see the relic placed among the momentoes "which illustrate the glorious war-record of our State." The members of the flag committee were all honorable men, men who had all worn Confederate gray and who were "working to keep alive" the principles of the Confederacy. They would be "worthy custodians" of the regimental flag under which so many brave soldiers had died. Still, it was true that Tate, as surviving colonel of the Sixth Regiment, had a just claim to the flag. Miss Fisher informed Tate that his claim to the flag "cannot be disputed," since he had preserved the flag.

This correspondence resulted in Tate's presentation of the flag to Mrs. Frances Fisher Tiernan, Colonel Fisher's daughter. She, in turn, presented the relic to the North Carolina Historical Commission, forerunner of the modern North Carolina Department of Archives and History. The flag was accompanied by Colonel Fisher's uniform dress, coat, hat, sword, and saddle-housing. These relics may still be seen in the North Carolina Museum of History, located in the city of Raleigh. All of them, except for the flag, which is nearly in tatters, are in fairly good condition and may be seen in the EXCELLENT exhibit: North Carolina and the Civil War. This 3,500-square-foot exhibit that explores the roles North Carolinians played in the nation's bloodiest conflict.  See part of the museum's extensive collection of Civil War artifacts. The exhibit is scheduled to run through 2003. Your feedback can help make this a permanant exhibit.

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