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This flag being offered comes from direct family descent being consigned by the great-great granddaughter of Maj. James Lucas. Maj. Lucas commanded the 15th South Carolina Heavy Artillery Battalion and brought this flag home after the war. This flag not only has great aesthetics but can also be traced to its date of manufacture and presentation. A historical report written by noted Confederate vexilliogist and historian Greg Biggs accompanies this flag. The flag is made from fine, light weight single-ply English wool bunting with stars of cotton and lettering made from originally red silk ribbon which has faded to pink where still remaining. Biggs, in his scholarly essay, notes that this flag was invoiced by the firm Hayden & Whilden under contract. Lucas Artillery Battalion was one of several coastal artillery units that protected Charleston Harbor. The battalion was formed June 6, 1861 on James Island where it was mustered into service. James J. Lucas was selected to command the battalion with the rank of Major. Lucas who was born in Kershaw County in 1831 was a son of a noted and prominent Charleston physician. James attended South Carolina Military Academy (the Citadel). James was prominent in the Charleston business community prior to the war and was elected to the state legislature where he served 3 terms. Lucas became part of the Palmetto Guards and served as their captain for 7 years leading up to the war. Upon the secession of South Carolina in December 1860, Lucas became aide-de-camp to Governor Francis Pickens. In that capacity he helped secure war supplies used against Ft. Sumter in April 1861. Lucas and his artillery were orig assigned to the fortifications on Sullivan Island, later moving to Cole’s Island guarding Charleston’s “backdoor” along Stono River and other points. It was here that the battalion gained their greatest success of the war. The USS Isaac R. Smith was a Union Navy blockading vessel that had seen pre-war service on the Hudson River until purchased by the Union Navy in 1861 for service along the coast. She weighed 450 tons and carried nine heavy guns. Her small size and shallow draft made her perfect for operations in the rivers around Charleston including on the Stono. The Confederates soon set a trap to capture the warship. On January 30, 1863, the Union vessel sailed up the river past masked Confederate batteries. Manning guns on one side of the river was a portion of the 15th South Carolina Heavy Artillery while a portion of the 2nd South Carolina Artillery covered the opposite shore. The Smith sailed past the batteries unaware of her predicament and anchored about 4-1/2 miles upstream by a local plantation. It was here that the Confederates opened fire on the ship. Another Union vessel sailed to her rescue but the rebel guns drove her off. Seeing the predicament he was in, the Smith’s commander stuck his colors. The Confederates recovered the ship, repaired it and renamed the CSS Stono. She then served as part of the Confederate Navy squadron around Charleston. Later becoming a blockade runner, she was wrecked at Sullivan’s Island bearing a load of cotton in June 1863. From August and into September, Lucas and his battalion fought in several engagements around Charleston harbor as the Union Navy tried to force entry into the harbor and were rebuffed time and again. Sites included in these fights included Battery Wagner, where two officers were killed, and Fort Sumter. In July 1864, Lucas’ Battalion defended Batteries Pringle and Tynes and defeated an attack by two Union ironclads and three gunboats. Finally, in late 1864, after Atlanta and Savannah in Georgia had both fallen, Union general William T. Sherman set his sights on South Carolina invading the state in early 1865. With the dearth of infantry units to defend it, some of the heavy artillery units about Charleston converted to infantry commands and Lucas and his battalion were so included. Attached to Rhett’s Brigade, Lucas and his troops fought at the battles of Averysboro and Bentonville in North Carolina between March 16 and 21, 1865. Lucas was wounded in both fights and sent to Raleigh to recover. He was there when General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered the Confederate forces in the region in late April 1865 including his battalion. Accompanying this lot supplied by family is a Polaroid photograph of Maj. Lucas’ grave and a frame post-war photograph, circa 1870. This is a fabulous and fresh historic and iconic “stars and bars” Confederate battle flag never previously offered from direct family descent. PROVENANCE: The flag comes from the Great-Great Granddaughter of Major James Lucas. Major Lucas also brought this flag home from the war. It was inherited upon the major’s death by his son, Benjamin Simon Lucas. Benjamin’s son, James Jonathan Lucas, inherited the flag and later gave it to his daughter Eleanor before his passing. Eleanor is the mother of the flag’s current owner who is the last of the Lucas family line on that side. CONDITION: Flag overall is in very good, sound, supple condition with bright colors, scattered small holes from moth damage. The silk ribbons are mostly missing which formed the letters on the flag. Flag measures 40-1/2″ on hoist and 63-1/2″ on fly. There is a 4″ sleeve made of orange cloth backed with polished cotton. The single applique cut-through stars measures 3-1/2″. The letters in unit name measure about 3″ and they are double applique. 49502-1 JS (40,000-60,000) – Lot 3355

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Auction: Firearms - October 2015
Please Note: All prices include the hammer price plus the buyer’s premium, which is paid by the buyer as part of the purchase price. The prices noted here after the auction are considered unofficial and do not become official until after the 46th day.