New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash has announced the opening of the “Chattanooga Colors” exhibition commemorating the 145th anniversary of the Civil War battles of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The flag exhibit will be on view in the New York State Capitol in Albany through September 2009. “Chattanooga Colors” is the ninth installment in the New York State Battle Flag Preservation Project Capitol exhibition series, which highlights the ongoing collaboration between the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Division of Military and Naval Affairs to preserve and properly store the state’s 1,900 battle flags. Many of the 850 Civil War flags in the state’s battle flag collection incurred damage in battle. At the end of the war, the flags were furled on their staffs and placed in glass cases in the Capitol. Nearly a century and a half of poor storage subjected the flags to the harmful effects of humidity, light, gravity, and temperature variance.
The exhibit showcases six battle flags carried by volunteer regiments from throughout the State of New York that served during the battles for Chattanooga, Tennessee, and includes a small Unites States flag made by a group of women in eastern Tennessee who concealed the banner in a tea pot to prevent its capture by the Confederates. Flags carried by the 60th Infantry, 136th Infantry, 137th Infantry, 143rd Infantry, 154th Infantry and Battery I, 1st Artillery are included in the exhibit. Over 3,700 citizen soldiers followed their colors to faraway battles in Tennessee.
Each flag within “Chattanooga Colors” has been conserved and prepared for exhibition at State Parks’ Peebles Island Resource Center as part of the New York State Battle Flag Preservation Project. Since 2000, the Flag Project has conserved and properly stored over 500 flags carried into battle by New York State regiments. The New York State Military Museum in the Saratoga Springs Armory is the permanent home of New York’s battle flag collection.
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