Iowa’s effort to restore the state’s Civil War battle flags has reached another milestone. The State Historical Society Monday unveiled one of it’s works…a blue silk flag with gold fringe that was carried into battle by the 10th Iowa Infantry. It’s the first regimental flag to go on display at the Capitol after receiving full conservation treatment.
Conservation Assistant Lori Lee-Rameriz says the flag lost some of it’s pieces, thanks to "souveniring." Souveniring is the term used to describe the cutting of the flag by soldiers, who wanted a piece of the flag after the war. "At first I was kind of appalled by that," Lee-Ramirez says, "but now I totally understand. These flags were that important to them, they were part of the unit, just like one of the troops."
The Iowa Civil War battle flags conservation effort was launched in 2001. Lee-Ramirez says the flags are needed for educational purposes, "we need these flags around for our children, so we never ever forget why we have the freedoms we have today." The 10th Iowa Infantry flag was first carried into battle in 1861. The unit had 1,319 soldiers. Sixty-three of those soldiers were killed in the war.
The 10th Infantry flag replaces the 6th Infantry flag in the statehouse display. Lee-Ramirez says the 6th Infantry flag will be placed in climate-controlled storage, away from public viewing for up to four years.