“STARS AND STRIPES” BEDSPREAD, 1861-1863
Long assumed to be a decorative riff on the American flag, this pattern’s source was recently identified by a quilt historian as the flag flying over Fort Sumter, South Carolina, when Confederates besieged it in 1861. “Garrison flags” flown at forts commonly arranged the stars in a central diamond design. Fort Sumter’s toured the country and became a rallying symbol for the Union, so its design was well-known.
Margaret Dodge made at least four patriotic bedspreads during the war; the DAR Museum owns two. A third was displayed at Brooklyn’s 1864 Sanitary Fair which raised money for the troops, and was afterwards presented to President Lincoln.
Margaret English Wood Dodge (c1781-1873), Brooklyn, New York
78” x 66”
Gift of Elsa S. Dorrance Lockwood, in memory of Nellie T. Sutton and George Alfred Sutton, 87.67.1
“THE FLAG OF FORT SUMTER,” 1861
Copyrighted by S.T. MacDougall
Courtesy Library of Congress
Months after South Carolina seceded, United States troops still held Fort Sumter in Charleston. Confederate troops, firing the first shots of the Civil War, eventually took the Fort. The fort’s flag became famous, inspiring this print and the quilt pattern, which adapted the flag’s diagonally-oriented field of stars.
PETERSON’S MAGAZINE, 1861
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Courtesy of Dawn Ronningen