Iowa Questers "Adopt" Iowa Civil War Battle Flag
Check Presentation Ceremony & Tour of Civil War Battle Flag Preservation Lab
 

For immediate release July 30, 2004

 

 

Sarah Oltrogge, 515-281-4011, Sarah.Oltrogge@iowa.gov


DES MOINES—
Representatives of the Iowa Questers Club will present the State Historical Society of Iowa with two checks, each worth $5,000, that will fund the complete conservation of The Hawkeye Rangers Company B, 1st Iowa Volunteer Cavalry Civil War battle flag. A short presentation will take place on Saturday, July 31 at 10 a.m. at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust, Des Moines, followed by a tour of the Civil War Battle Flag Preservation Lab.

Hawkey Rangers Battle FlagThe Iowa Questers raised $5,000 on their own and also received $5,000 from an International Quester Grant toward the conservation of this flag. State Quester President Vicki Baker said the organization has a vested interest in the conservation of Iowa's Civil War Battle Flags.

"Our organization is particularly interested in helping to preserve these flags because it fits so well with our mission," Baker said. "We're fortunate to be able to provide this money toward such a worthwhile endeavor."

The Iowa Questers will also present a check for $3,800 toward the general Battle Flag Preservation fund.

The Questers is an international organization that was founded 48 years ago to encourage the study of antiques, and to foster the preservation and restoration of historical landmarks. Individual chapters are usually made up of between 8 and 20 members who meet monthly. The meeting programs are structured toward the individual chapter interests, and study papers, speakers, antiquing trips, historic site trips and museum tours are among the programs. Iowa has one of the largest Quester populations, with 2,600 members in over 100 chapters statewide.

Flag History
This 29" x 41" hand-painted silk banner was presented by the ladies of Lyons (Clinton), Iowa to Company B, 1st Iowa Volunteer Cavalry on July 24, 1861. The blue silk is painted on one side with 34 stars and the words "Hawk" and "Ranger" separated by the image of an open eye. The reverse shows 34 stars, a hawk, and the statement, "We will meet you on the border." On three sides, the banner is wrapped with red and white fringe.

Considerable shattering of the silk and warping of the painted surface has damaged the banner. Preliminary conservation efforts have shown that it may be stabilized and much of its original form preserved. Conservation efforts will continue with a final goal of preserving and displaying the banner.

Regimental History
Company B, 1st Iowa Volunteer Cavalry was organized by Judge William E. Leffingwell in the summer of 1861 from volunteers of Clinton and Jackson counties. It joined the rest of the regiment, under Col. Fritz Henry Warren, and began actions against rebel guerillas in Kansas and Missouri. Although provided only sidearms and sabers, the regiment helped quiet resistance in the assigned areas. In July 1862, the regiment defeated William Quantrill's guerillas near Pleasant Hill, Kan.

In December 1862, it moved to Arkansas and participated in battles around Prairie Grove, Van Buren, Little Rock, and in pursuit of various guerilla and regular confederate units throughout 1863 and 1864. Transferred back to Missouri in the fall of 1864, it continued security operations and expanded its influence into Texas. The regiment was mustered out in 1865.

Of the 2,115 men who served the regiment, 70 were killed, 88 wounded, 189 died of disease and 241 were discharged for medical reasons.

Funds to restore and conserve Iowa's Civil War battle flags are provided by the Iowa Legislature and private donations. Donations toward this project are welcome and can be sent to: The State Historical Society of Iowa, 600 E. Locust, Des Moines, IA 50319. For complete information about the Iowa Battle Flag Preservation Project, visit www.iowaflags.org.

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