In a show of Northern hospitality, three Southern flags and one ship’s bell captured by Massachusetts troops during Civil War battles in North Carolina will return to that state. The board of trustees of the Worcester, Mass. Grand Army of the Republic agreed to loan the historical items to museums for display.
The three large flags were carried by Confederates during the Battle of New Bern, N.C. on March 14, 1862 and captured by Union infantry regiments recruited from Worcester. They will be on loan to Museum of the Albemarle
The 50-pound bell was on the seemingly invincible ironclad CSS Albemarle , which terrorized Union ships in Albemarle Sound before she was sunk Oct. 27, 1864, was brought back to Worcester after the war ended. It will be on a 10-year loan to the Port O'Plymouth Museum in Plymouth, N.C.
The loan was initiated by Worcester native Russell G. Haddad who works for Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), whose district includes the two museums where the flags and the bell will be on display, reports the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Word of the loan comes on the heels of yesterday’s news about another Civil War artifact tug-of-war. A Charleston resident is threatening legal action to get a bell returned to West Virginia. The item was taken by Massachusetts soldiers from the firehouse in Harpers Ferry, W.V. where radical abolitionist John Brown had barricaded himself after an unsuccessful raid on the armory in that town. They brought the bell back with them to Marlborough, Mass., where it has been kept ever since; Howard Swint, 53, has been trying to get town officials to agree to return it to West Virginia since 2004.