Monday, February 18, 2013
Flag from Ford's Theater
On the day President and Mrs. Lincoln were going to attend a performance at Ford's Theater, the theater's manager borrowed flags to decorate the President's box. He borrowed this one from the United States Treasury. Some accounts indicate that the flag was in President Lincoln's way, so he was holding it when he was shot. Other accounts indicate that John Wilkes Booth tripped on this flag or another borrowed flag and broke his leg as he escaped.
After the confusion of President Lincoln's assassination died down, the flag was returned to the Treasury. It was used in displays and ceremonies in the following decades before being sent to storage, where it was forgotten. Years later a Treasury employee sent the flag to a Connecticut collector of Civil War relics. It made its way to the Connecticut Historical Society where it was forgotten for a second time before being re-identified in 1998.
Even though it has undergone extensive restoration, it is very frail, so it is kept in the CHS temperature and humidity-controlled storage room if it is not on display. An article with more information about the flag and its historic role is here.