Flag Day 1914 - PA Civil War Flags Flag Day 1914

Flag Day 1914

On February 28, 1905 Congress approved a joint resolution to return all captured battle flags to their respective states. Pennsylvania received eleven more colors, which led to further crowding in the old cases located in the Executive, Library, and Museum Building. In 1906 the new Capitol building was completed, and included niches on the main floor of the rotunda designed to contain decorative statuary. Adjutant-General Thomas J. Steward suggested those niches be used to display the state's battle flags of the Civil and Spanish-American War. In 1913 Governor John K. Tener authorized the establishment of a commission to arrange for the transfer of the flags to the Capitol rotunda.

The ceremony occurred on Flag Day 1914. Each flag was encased in a silk chiffon sleeve because as early as 1914 the flags had begun to crumble with age. The aged Civil War veterans marched from the steps of the Museum Building down Fourth Street, to Market, up Front Street, and then up State Street into the Capitol rotunda. Many of the flag-bearers in the 1914 parade were the same flag-bearers in the 1866 parade, as well as during the war. The parade was late getting started because many of the veterans wept openly upon seeing their colors again. Thinking it unbecoming of a soldier to cry in public, the parade did not begin until the aged war heroes had regained their composure. Following the parade, the bearers placed the flags in the six rotunda display cases where they would reside for nearly three-quarters of a century.

PA Capitol Preservation Committee | Room 630 Main Capitol Building | Harrisburg, PA 17120