Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Citadel Finds It's "Big Red"-- Part 2

In 2007, Citadel alumni discovered a red palmetto flag in the museum of the State Historical Society of Iowa. It had been presented to the Society in 1919 by a soldier from the 20th Iowa and it matched the descriptions of the flag from the past.

Citadel alumni learned the soldier had acquired it after the April 1865 surrender of Fort Blakely, Alabama. The only South Carolinian present was an artillery battery commanded by a Citadel graduate who had served in the Morris Island battery.

Unlike the Citadel Spirit Flag inspired by the mural and state flag of South Carolina, the crescent of the Iowa flag faced inward. No eye witness account of the crescent has been found, but a February 1861 newspaper illustration shows the cadets flying a flag with the Iowa arrangement.

It probably never will be known whether this is the flag the cadets flew that day, but evidence points to it. The State of Iowa Historical Society has been gracious enough to loan the flag to the Citadel where it will displayed at the Holliday Alumni Center.

In 2009, the school's Board of Visitor's voted to adopt the Iowa version as the school's Spirit Flag.

A Bit of History Sleuthing. --Old B-Runner

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