Gregg Biggs talks about the Tennessee Civil War flags book he is working on: part two

Greg Biggs by you.
Historian Greg Biggs

This is part two of a five-part interview series with historian Greg Biggs.  See part one.

CWG: question 3 – What kind of role(s) have you had – or still have – as it relates to Civil War organizations?

I have started or helped to start three Civil War Roundtables – two in Ohio where I used to live, and the one in Clarksville, TN where I currently live.  My silly members keep electing me president every year too for some reason!  I am also a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

CWG: question 4 – How or why will this book be unique in the Civil War literature?

Well, believe it or not, there just aren’t that many Civil War flag books out there that are based on serious research.  There’s a few that are not worth the paper they are printed on in that there is little scholarship behind them and most simply repeat mythology without challenges to that.  These are a waste of time basically.  Union flags are woefully under-represented as well for whatever reason.

The late Howard Madaus began the serious work of studying Civil War flags in the 1970’s and led the way for people like me to follow.  He was certainly my mentor and taught me a great deal about flags.

So we aim to have this book fill in a much needed hole in the study of the Civil War’s material culture side, which seems to be neglected as well at times.  For whatever reason, academia does not like to deal with artifacts like weapons and flags and prefers to stay with paper documents, which is fine, as I use those as well.  But these artifacts they ignore also have great stories to tell and help us understand the war as a whole.  The book will be the joining of serious scholarship and examination of the artifacts involved and we hope this will give the reader a better understanding of the era.

Part two of five: The Civil War Gazette interview with historian and author Greg Biggs

The following images are all courtesy of the Tennessee State Museum.

35-star U.S. Cavalry.jpg by you.
35-star U.S. Cavalry Guidon, Unknown Regiment (after July 4, 1863). Tennessee State Museum Collection, acc. no. 2.194 (Courtesy Tennessee State Museum)
32nd TN Infantry flag.jpg by you.
First National Flag, 32nd Tennessee Infantry. Presented by the ladies of Franklin, Tenn., while the regiment was stationed in Bowling Green, Ky. (December/January 1861–1862). Tennessee State Museum Collection, acc. no. 10.342. (Courtesy Tennessee State Museum)
17th Tennessee Infantry.jpg by you.
Hardee Pattern Battle Flag, 17th Tennessee Infantry (circa 1863). Tennessee State Museum Collection, acc. no. 78.19.50 (Courtesy Tennessee State Museum)
11th TN Infantry flag.jpg by you.
Dalton-Issue Battle Flag of the 11th Tennessee Infantry (1864). Tennessee State Museum Collection, acc. no. 3.2 (Courtesy Tennessee State Museum)
18th Tennessee color bearers.jpg by you.
18th Tennessee Infantry Color Bearers. L-R: Dr. Nat Gooch, Logue Nelson and William McKay. Published in Confederate Veteran, 1911. (Note: At the Battle of Murfreesboro, 10 men were killed or wounded bearing this flag, including Gooch and McKay.) (Courtesy Tennessee State Museum)

One comment

  1. Hi,
    I have a civil war flag, and need to find a good appraiser, it says 1st Florida Shiloh. and is supposed to be you know anyone who I could send photos to ?
    Regards, Deb

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