Capt. Henry Hendrix, director of the Naval History and Heritage Command, accepted the a Confederate flag from the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society during a July 31 ceremony in Dayton, Va. In 1865, Lt. William Ladd, a Union soldier, took the flag off the Confederate States Ship Hampton as it sank into the Potomac River.
Ladd wrote in the History of the 13th New Hampshire Regiment, “We tied our horses, took a skiff and rowed out to a rebel war ship...and captured two Confederate flags then flying upon her. I pulled down the larger flag, the cavalryman the smaller one, and we rolled them up and tied them to our saddles.”
The Union veteran retained the flag in his home following the war where it remained there for years. In 2011, the flag was discovered in an archival collection box at the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society. The Society ultimately contacted the Naval History and Heritage Command’s Hampton Roads Naval Museum in Norfolk, Va., and decided it would be an appropriate home for the flag.
As the director accepted the gift, he presented the flag to the Museum’s curatorial staff to begin the conservation process to make the flag ready to become part of the museum.
The Hampton Roads Naval Museum introduces visitors to more than 234 years of U.S. Naval history in Hampton Roads, Virginia. One of nine officially operated U.S. Navy museums, reporting to the Naval History and Heritage Command, the museum houses a rich collection of authentic uniforms, weaponry, underwater artifacts, detailed ship models and artwork. The Hampton Roads Naval Museum is located on the second level of Nauticus in Norfolk, Va. Admission is free.
To learn more, visit http://www.history.navy.mil/museums/hrnm/index.html.