Noted Civil War author and photographer Michael Dreese will present a talk “Advance the Colors: Union and Confederate Battle Flags and Color-bearers at Gettysburg” at West Virginia Independence Hall Museum in Wheeling on Friday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public. A book-signing session will follow the talk.
Dreese will explain to visitors the powerful mystique that flags hold and how they frequently caused ordinary men to perform almost superhuman deeds of valor. Even though death or serious injury was usually the fate for flag bearers, men often vied for the honor of carrying them. He also will discuss how battle flags played both tactical and psychological roles in the war’s most pivotal battle at Gettysburg.
A 1984 graduate of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s forerunner, Williamsport Area Community College, Dreese has combined his thirst for history and zeal for writing to publish five books since 1997, with more on the way. His most recent books, Never Desert the Flag and This Flag Never Goes Down!, focus on the Union and Confederate battle flags and color-bearers at Gettysburg. His passionate interest in the Civil War has led him to serve on the advisory committee of the Seminary Ridge Historic Preservation Foundation at Gettysburg.
For more information about the Oct. 1 lecture, call Gerry Reilly, site manager at West Virginia Independence Hall, at (304) 238-1300.
West Virginia Independence Hall, originally built as a federal custom house in 1859, served as the home of pro-Union state conventions of Virginia during the spring and summer of 1861 and as the capitol of loyal Virginia from June 1861 to June 1863. It also was the site of the first constitutional convention for West Virginia. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988, the museum is owned and operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, with the cooperation and assistance of the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the exception of major holidays, and is located on the corner of 16th and Market Streets in Wheeling. The facility is closed on Sundays in January and February.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is partnering with the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation Inc. to conserve and display 12 of the state’s rare, original Civil War battle flags. When the project is completed, the Civil War battle flags exhibition will be at Independence Hall, allowing the public to view the newly conserved flags for the first time.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Visit the Division’s website at www.wvculture.org for more information about programs of the Division. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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