On August 17, Fincastle Chapter member Debra McClane visited the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond. She first attended a packed-house lecture by John Coski on “The Long Hot Summer of 1862.” Mr. Coski is the Museum Historian and author of The Army of the Potomac at Berkeley Plantation: The Harrison’s Landing Occupation of 1862 , The Confederate Battle Flag: America’s Most Embattled Emblem, and other scholarly publications. His talk focused on Union General McClellan’s six weeks at Berkeley Plantation outside of Richmond after the Seven Days Battles. Coski contends that the Army of the Potomac’s six weeks at Harrison’s Landing was the most important period of inactivity of the entire war since the character of the war changed dramatically in large part because of what McClellan did and did not do while at Harrison’s Landing.

After the lecture, Debra visited the curatorial department where Cathy Wright displayed the Botetourt Dragoons flag. What a beauty! The flag is quite large and of a vibrant blue silk material. The gold fring on two sides is metallic and the center painting, although aged, is in fair shape. The front painting shows a victorious woman warrior standing over a despot whose crown has fallen from his head. The detail is evident and the quality of the painting has kept this flag in good shape over the years.The verso of the flag, which was not displayed, features a golden wreath with the famous words of Patriot Patrick Henry “Give Me Liberty of Give Me Death!”

This was first time a member of the chapter has seen the flag in person. It was quite a thrill and really encourages conservation of this beautiful and unique artifact!  For more information on donations, click here.