11th NC Troops Battle Flag
This is a third-bunting Army of Northern Virginia battle flag and was one of five battle flags sent to the quartermaster of Pettigrew's Brigade on May 8, 1863. A few weeks later one of these five flags was sent to the 11th where it was signed for while "in the field" on June 20, 1863 by Colonel Collett Leventhorpe. Within days the flag would be carried into battle at Gettysburg.
*In the third day's battle the entire new color-guard of eight men being killed or wounded, Captain Bird, commanding Company C and the color-guard, took the flag when the last guard fell with it, and carried it on until the charge was a failure and the line retired, bringing off the flag and stub of the staff which had been twice shot off in his hands. It was the only flag brought back from that sanguinary hill. It was this color company and the flag that it bore that was a target for the guns and rifles of the enemy. Company C went into that day's battle with three officers and thirty-four men and lost two officers killed and thirty men killed or wounded, probably a greater loss than any company has had in any battle since the recorded losses of companies and regiments have been kept since Thermopylae.
Out of the four regiments from Pettigrew's Brigade that took place in the assault against Union positions on Cemetery Ridge on July 3, 1863, this flag of the Eleventh Regiment North Carolina Troops was the only one of the brigade safely carried back to Confederate lines after the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble charge and not captured.
The battle flag carried at Gettysburg was carried home by the regimental commander William J. Martin and donated to the State of North Carolina in 1920 by the Martin family.
*Account of this flag and the color guard at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863 -Volume I of Clark's Regimental Histories, page. 590.
In late 2008, it was brought to the attention of the 11th NC (reenactors) that this flag was up for preservation efforts as part of a larger effort by the 26th NC. Our membership quickly discussed this opportunity. Skip Smith, commander of the 26th, was contacted with the request that the 11th be allowed to take over the preservation efforts of “our” flag, which was graciously accepted, and the membership of the 11th voted to immediately assume the responsibility of raising the funding to complete the projects.
The Museum of History was contacted and we were informed of the logistics to undertake a project such as this. The estimate of the flag conservation expenses was based on previous flag restorations. The 11th NC Reenactors quickly moved to provide funding to stabilize the flag. We discussed fund raising ideas and it was decided to hold a raffle for a cash prize and a week at an Orlando Condominium (that was graciously donated by one of our members). In addition to the raffle, the 11th NC has been working for years to generate funds for such a worthy project. With the combined efforts of the membership, friends and supporters the required money was raised by mid 2009. The flag preservation project was completed in October 2009 and a ceremony was held on 6 February 2010 and the flag rededicated to the men of the original 11th NCT.