On Saturday, March 5th, Fort Pulaski National Monument presented a living history event to commemorate the adoption of the first Confederate national flag. As part of the fort’s ongoing recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, over 100 visitors gathered to watch volunteers dressed as Confederate soldiers lowered the Georgia flag of secession and raised the flag known as the “Stars and Bars.”
Since early January, Fort Pulaski has flown the Georgia flag of secession, following the commemoration of the seizure of the fort by Georgia militia on January 3, 1861. The flag-raising was followed by a musket firing and cannon firing to salute the Stars and Bars.
On March 4, 1861, the Stars and Bars flag was raised for the first time over the capitol building in Montgomery, Alabama, the original capital of the Confederacy. Although the Confederate Congress never passed a formal flag law due to their haste in wanting to have a symbol of their new nation in place in time for Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration, they formally adopted the Stars and Bars as the first official national flag of the Confederacy. Fort Pulaski was held by Confederate troops until April 1862.
“Historic flags are a visually effective way to focus the public’s attention on the importance of preserving the nation’s history,” said Superintendent Randy Wester.
Fort Pulaski National Monument will continue to fly the Stars and Bars six days a week until the 150th anniversary of the siege of Fort Pulaski in 2012. The park flies the 34-star United States flag on Sundays in order to continue to interpret the Union occupation of the fort from April 1862 until the end of the Civil War.