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Museum gets Confederate flag
Saturday, March 05, 2005 - Bangor Daily News

HOULTON - Although the Civil War ended more than a century ago, officials at the Aroostook Historical and Art Museum are preserving a relic seized during the conflict by a Union soldier with ties to Houlton for future generations to share.

Relatives of former Houlton Postmaster William L. Boyd recently donated to the museum a Confederate flag that he captured during a skirmish on May 10, 1863. The banner was captured with little effort in Virginia, museum curator Kay Bell said recently.

"We have Boyd's handwritten account of the incident at the museum," she said. "According to the account, Boyd wrestled a Confederate soldier to the ground and took the flag, with no resistance at all."

The flag, commonly known as the "Stars and Bars," was the first official flag of the Confederacy from March 1861 to May 1863. Two more official flags were adopted before the war ended. The first red, white and blue flag represents the seven original states to join the Confederacy.

Boyd was commissioned as a captain before he left the service, and came back to Houlton after the war ended in 1865. Bell said that Boyd's granddaughter sent the flag to the museum to be assured that the relic would remain in an area where Boyd spent much of his life.

The authenticity of the flag has been verified, Bell said recently, and is now being restored by a preservationist in Portland.

"The flag is in excellent shape," the curator said. "It was framed when it arrived here, but we sent it to Portland to be put on acid-free backing so that it will keep over the years. It will probably be there another few weeks before we get it back to the museum."

Bell said recently that she believes the flag will be a valuable asset to the museum.

"It is another piece of Houlton history that younger people will be able to enjoy," she said. "I think it is going to be an attraction that many people find interesting."

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