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[196] thinks some of the flags may have reached the department through some other channel. Of the whole number of flags thus sent to the department, 236 were United States flags, captured by the Confederates and recaptured by the Federal troops, and 544 were Confederate flags taken by the United States troops, making a total of 780, in the custody of the department. When received, they were deposited in a vacant attic in a building on Seventeenth street, used by clerks of the adjutant-general's office, and remained there until 1867. In that year the Secretary of War had them taken to the War Department, where a few were placed on the walls, and the remainder laid on shelves or stuffed in pigeon-holes. A portion of the flags were removed to the Winter building and placed on exhibition in the Ordnance Museum in 1784, and others were sent to the same place in 1875. The larger part of the flags still remained in the War Department. In 1882 all the flags, by direction of the Secretary of War, were boxed up and stored in the sub-basement of the department, where they were kept until 1889, when it was found that they were decaying, and the adjutant-general of the army had them removed from the boxes and placed in an upper story, where they could be more readily reached. It has been the practice of the department to return recaptured Union flags to the organizations which lost them, but it has not been the practice to return any Confederate flags to their original owners.

During the first administration of Mr. Cleveland the Adjutant-General of the army, R. C. Drum, recommended to the President that the captured flags be returned to the Governors of the States to which the organizations which had lost them belonged. Mr. Cleveland approved this suggestion, and then revoked the order which had been issued on the subject, for the reason that he found he did not have the power to give back the flags without being authorized to do so by act of Congress.

Virginia flags.

The following is a list of the forty-nine flags carried by Virginia regiments and captured in battle, which are now in the War Department:

First Virginia Infantry, captured by the 82d New York at Gettysburg.

Third Virginia Infantry, captured at Gettysburg.

Fourth Virginia Infantry, taken at the Wilderness, May 12, 1864.

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