Gray Eagles to raise funds for historic flag conservation


By Kitsey Burns Harrison - [email protected]



Local history buffs view the Yadkin Gray Eagles Civil War flag at the North Carolina History Museum in Raleigh.


Submitted photo

From Manassas to Appomattox. Never captured nor surrendered

On Monday, June 17, 1861, about one month before the Battle of First Manassas, the first major battle during the War Between the States, local citizens of Yadkin County assembled at the courthouse in Yadkinville. Excitement filled the air as they intended to send off the Yadkin Gray Eagles, the first company of soldiers organized in the county. A few local ladies had made a flag from silk material that was originally intended for their dresses, and they had planned to present it to the soldiers. Among those ladies present was Miss Louise Glen, who delivered the following speech:

“Gentlemen of the Yadkin Gray Eagles:

As representatives of the ladies of our County, we have come to present you this banner – an offering fresh from our hands, and one that will be accompanied by many heartfelt wishes for your success – you who go forth to battle for the maintenance of our rights. Our enemies have threatened to take from us our liberty that we hold dearer than life itself, and subject us to their hateful control. And even now they have invaded our soil – and are preparing to execute their threat. Who then can hesitate, when such may be our country’s fate? Your mothers, wives, and sisters all bid you go, trusting to the God of Liberty and your own brave deeds to bring you off conquerors in the conflict. And may you return to your homes and firesides and enjoy once more the blessings of that freedom for which you have fought.

Then take this, Captain Connally, and remember that wherever you may be, through whatever scenes you may pass, we will look to you as our defenders, and our prayers will be for success and protection for you and all those engaged in this glorious Cause. We give it to you pure and spotless, but when this war is over and you return home, how much more beautiful it will be when faded and worn for use in such work.

The first in our midst to respond to your country’s call, we feel secure that whenever the post of danger is, there our flag will wave o’er a brave and true band, who … scorning the sordid lust of pelf will serve their country for herself. “

The flag which the ladies presented to Captain John Kerr Connally was a variation of the Confederate National flag. The Yadkin Gray Eagle Flag measured 51 inches by 41 inches, with a 3 inch gold ruffle around the outside. In the upper right corner was a blue field with 13 stars. The rest of flag consists of three broad stripes of red, white, and red. “Yadkin Gray Eagles” was embroidered in gold on the back, with the motto “We scorn the sordid lust of pelf and serve our country for herself” on the front of the flag.

Captain Connally, in receiving the flag, promised:

“When this cruel war is over, Miss Lou, this flag untarnished shall return to you!”

The flag of the Yadkin Gray Eagles may be the only company flag from North Carolina to be carried through 26 battles, from Manassas to Appomattox.

As promised, it was indeed returned to Miss Lou after the war. She kept the flag for several years, before passing it on to her daughter, who held it until 1898. It was later donated to the North Carolina Department of Archives and History Museum in Raleigh, where it resides today.

Members of the Yadkin Gray Eagles Camp, a group of Civil War reenactors and history buffs, are working to raise funds to restore a piece of Yadkin County history.

The original flag carried by soldiers leaving Yadkin County to fight in the Civil War was returned to the county and is now at the North Carolina Department of Archives and History Museum in Raleigh. On Aug. 5, 2016, the Yadkin Gray Eagles SCV Camp 1765, along with other historians and authors, visited the museum where they were given special permission to view the flag — the first time it had been publicly viewed since 1984.

“The historical flag is now only a shadow of its former glory as time has degraded the fragile silk material. While the flag is beyond restoration, what is left of it can be conserved for future generations to view and enjoy. A project has been initiated by the Yadkin Gray Eagles SCV camp in coordination with the North Carolina Department of Archives and History Museum to pursue this conservation effort. Other local and state historians, historic societies, re-enacting groups, and public officials are engaged as well,” said Greg Cheek. “The Yadkin Gray Eagles SCV Camp 1765 is committed to the effort to raise the nearly $30,000 estimated by the Museum that is needed to complete the conservation of the original flag.”

The group has a silk reproduction of the Yadkin Gray Eagle flag that was made recently by Marlena Mathews.

“Her efforts help us visualize the ceremonial gift of the original flag to inspire the men of the Yadkin Gray Eagles 155 years ago,” Cheek said.

A fundraiser auction will kick off at the Lee-Jackson Banquet which is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. The banquet will be held at the Yadkinville Moose Lodge and will include an oyster and chicken stew dinner with side dishes, desserts, and drinks. Local musician Stan Clardy will perform a special program entitled, “Where is Dixie: Thoughts and songs about Dixie, Is it just a geographical place or a place in our hearts?”

Items up for auction at the fundraiser will include Commemorative Yadkin Gray Eagle Flag Coins, books, actual period money, and other historical items. Tickets are available at the door: $15 for adults, free for those younger than 18.

For ticket reservations, questions, or additional information, contact Greg Cheek at 336-428-2026 or [email protected]

Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter or Instagram @RippleReporterK.

Local history buffs view the Yadkin Gray Eagles Civil War flag at the North Carolina History Museum in Raleigh.
http://yadkinripple.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/web1_20160805_105210.jpgLocal history buffs view the Yadkin Gray Eagles Civil War flag at the North Carolina History Museum in Raleigh. Submitted photo

By Kitsey Burns Harrison

[email protected]

From Manassas to Appomattox. Never captured nor surrendered

On Monday, June 17, 1861, about one month before the Battle of First Manassas, the first major battle during the War Between the States, local citizens of Yadkin County assembled at the courthouse in Yadkinville. Excitement filled the air as they intended to send off the Yadkin Gray Eagles, the first company of soldiers organized in the county. A few local ladies had made a flag from silk material that was originally intended for their dresses, and they had planned to present it to the soldiers. Among those ladies present was Miss Louise Glen, who delivered the following speech:

“Gentlemen of the Yadkin Gray Eagles:

As representatives of the ladies of our County, we have come to present you this banner – an offering fresh from our hands, and one that will be accompanied by many heartfelt wishes for your success – you who go forth to battle for the maintenance of our rights. Our enemies have threatened to take from us our liberty that we hold dearer than life itself, and subject us to their hateful control. And even now they have invaded our soil – and are preparing to execute their threat. Who then can hesitate, when such may be our country’s fate? Your mothers, wives, and sisters all bid you go, trusting to the God of Liberty and your own brave deeds to bring you off conquerors in the conflict. And may you return to your homes and firesides and enjoy once more the blessings of that freedom for which you have fought.

Then take this, Captain Connally, and remember that wherever you may be, through whatever scenes you may pass, we will look to you as our defenders, and our prayers will be for success and protection for you and all those engaged in this glorious Cause. We give it to you pure and spotless, but when this war is over and you return home, how much more beautiful it will be when faded and worn for use in such work.

The first in our midst to respond to your country’s call, we feel secure that whenever the post of danger is, there our flag will wave o’er a brave and true band, who … scorning the sordid lust of pelf will serve their country for herself. “

The flag which the ladies presented to Captain John Kerr Connally was a variation of the Confederate National flag. The Yadkin Gray Eagle Flag measured 51 inches by 41 inches, with a 3 inch gold ruffle around the outside. In the upper right corner was a blue field with 13 stars. The rest of flag consists of three broad stripes of red, white, and red. “Yadkin Gray Eagles” was embroidered in gold on the back, with the motto “We scorn the sordid lust of pelf and serve our country for herself” on the front of the flag.

Captain Connally, in receiving the flag, promised:

“When this cruel war is over, Miss Lou, this flag untarnished shall return to you!”

The flag of the Yadkin Gray Eagles may be the only company flag from North Carolina to be carried through 26 battles, from Manassas to Appomattox.

As promised, it was indeed returned to Miss Lou after the war. She kept the flag for several years, before passing it on to her daughter, who held it until 1898. It was later donated to the North Carolina Department of Archives and History Museum in Raleigh, where it resides today.

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