Published: June 30, 2020
CHADDS FORD, PENN. – A rare Civil War designating flag made by William H. Horstmann & Sons, Philadelphia, rallied to $60,000, including premium, at William Bunch Auctions on June 23 as the firm offered a 300-year-old trove of items from the Philadelphia family of Declaration of Independence signatory Francis Hopkinson.
Labeled “2 Army Corps 2 Div 3 Brig,” the flag resonates with a plaque at Gettysburg Battlefield honoring this particular outfit. The plaque reads: “Army of the Potomac Second Corps Second Division Third Brigade Col. Norman J. Hall…July 2. Took position on the line at the left of Second Brigade and of the copse of trees. The 19th Mass. and 42d New York were late in the day advanced to support Second Division Third Corps but retired on Second Division being forced back. The Brigade was attacked by Brig. Gen. Wright’s Brigade which overrun Battery A 1st Rhode Island then in advance but was repulsed with heavy loss and forced beyond the Emmitsburg Road. July 3. Remained in position. At 3 P.M. Longstreet’s assault was made after a cannonade of two hours. The Brigade and the Second Brigade received the charge of Major Gen. Pickett’s Division which was repulsed with great loss in killed wounded prisoners and flags. In this engagement the First Brigade and the other troops were rushed to support of the two Brigades engaged and contributed to the victory. The Brigade remained in its position until the close of the battle. Casualties Killed 6 Officers 75 Men, Wounded 29 Officers 253 Men, Captured or Missing 14 Men Total 377.” While it is not for certain that the flag flew at Gettysburg, the brigade is nonetheless clearly associated with that battle.
A lawyer, judge, author, composer, merchant and holder of many high public offices, Hopkinson is also distinguished for having designed Continental paper money, the first United States coin and early versions of the American flag. His direct descendants chose to auction a treasured multigenerational family archive of Americana, documents, fine art and books that had long been stored away in 25 large steamer trunks.
“The age of COVID has had surprisingly little impact on the results that we achieve with good material,” said owner William Bunch after the sale. “The market is so aggressive and very strong for what it wants to buy. It has changed a lot of what we do operationally; for the sale, we had three online platforms, absentee bids and almost 800 telephone bids. I sold the entire sale and it’s a little strange just selling the entire auction to my staff!”
A full review of the sale will follow.
September 28, 2022
September 28, 2022
September 27, 2022
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