Yesterday Fort Sumter National Monument posted this update to their Facebook page:
I haven’t found the corresponding “official” press release on their website. Probably because Facebook is easier to update than the website (darn you “company who outbid the company I used to work for” and your clunky user interface!!!!). But let me pull the text for the Facebook update here:
Press Release Regarding Fort Sumter National Monument’s Historical Flag Display:
Fort Sumter National Monument Moves Historical Flag Display to Original Parade Ground
Charleston, SC – Fort Sumter National Monument officials announced today that the historical flag interpretive display flying over Fort Sumter will be moved to the fort’s original parade ground. The new display will include every national flag that flew over the fort during the Civil War. It will be located on the same ground and near the same location where the original flags flew 150 years ago.
“As a focal point of Charleston Harbor, it is important that the only flag seen flying atop Fort Sumter National Monument is the current United States flag,” said Superintendent Tim Stone. “The historical flag display will be in the fort so visitors can learn about the fort’s history and the history of the flags that flew here.”
The new display will feature the 33-star United States flag, the First National Flag of the Confederacy, the Second National Flag of the Confederacy, and the 35-star United States flag. These flags represent the national flags that flew over the fort during the Civil War between 1861 and 1865.
Since the tragedy at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston only the current 50-star United States flag has flown above Fort Sumter. The National Park Service is looking closely at how interpretive displays featuring flags of the Confederacy help visitors understand the Civil War. As part of this process, Fort Sumter National Monument reviewed its historical flag interpretive display. The park determined that the display would be modified and moved and only national flags flown at the fort during the Civil War will be part of the new display.
The park uses interpretive displays, museum exhibits, signs, brochures, a website and social media platforms to tell the story of Fort Sumter. Many of these feature flags or reproductions of flags used during the Civil War. These displays change from time to time as new tools become available and more information is learned about the war and the fort. Only the historical flag interpretive display at Fort Sumter is being changed at this time.
Short version – the flag display pictured here….
… which were taken down earlier this summer (the photo below is from a bad weather day in 2010, and a trick on my part)….
… minus the large flagpole where the current 50-star US flag is flown, will relocate onto the Endicott Era Battery Huger…
… onto the area near the railings to the far left of the photo above. Basically, cut and paste the smaller flag poles on the right to a place on the left.
That is, in my opinion, good placement. That will require no small expenditure, which some might call into question. But the outcome is to retain the interpretive display, which I think is for the best.
I would point out that during the Federal bombardments of Fort Sumter, the Confederates placed their flag at the left corners of the fort. This was captured in Conrad Wise Chapman’s paintings:
And in wartime photos from Morris Island:
And as indicated on the NPS diagram from Facebook, the fort’s original flagpole stood on the parade ground. Neither of those historical locations would work within the fort’s layout today. I applaud the decision to retain the display, and think the placement is actually better for interpretive needs.