Some of you know that one of my favorite heroes from my romance novel, Gatekeeper, Benton Smith, was based on the historical Brigadier General Thomas Benton Smith, CSA.
The flag his men carried is now up for restoration but funds are needed to complete the restoration so the flag can be displayed in the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville.
This 6 foot by 9 foot silk flag is stored in the basement of the Tennessee State Museum and is in serious need of conservation. Since the old banner is made from silk it is deteriorating quickly and we are desperately seeking donations to save it for future generations. We need to $48,000 to remove the invasive method of restoration that was done in the 1960s and to clean, chemically treat, seal, & frame the flag for posterity. The regiment’s name, battle honors, stars, and motto were painted on the flag which makes it even more fragile.
The 20th was organized in May of 1861 with men and boys who were mostly from Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, along with many from surrounding counties. The 20th fought in most battles of the Western theatre from Fishing Creek, KY, Shiloh, Vicksburg, Murfreesboro, the battles for Atlanta, the bloody Tennessee Campaign in November of 1864, to the surrender in May 1865.
Dr. William McMurray wrote the definite history of the 20th infantry in 1908 and in it he wrote, “For 4 long years of crimson war the regiment was never routed, never lost their colors, nor refused to obey an order. They had on their rolls, first & last, thirteen hundred men and boys but when they laid down their arms at Greensboro, NC, there were only 34 for duty.”
There are several notable Tennesseans who served under this flag as well. Men like Captain Tod Carter from the Historic Carter house in Franklin and who was mortally wounded during the battle there. Col. William M. Shy, whose death at the battle of Nashville is marked with a hill named in his honor. Private Dewitt Smith Jobe who was tortured and killed by Union soldiers near Triune in 1863. Gen. Thomas Benton Smith who was severely injured at Nashville after he had surrendered. There are numerous other heroic men and stories connected to this flag that cant be included.
Please consider helping us with this monumental task and remember that all donations are tax deductible.
c/o Roderick camp 2072, SCV,
1114 Galloway Street,
Columbia, Tennessee 38401
For more info on the flag or the 20th Tennessee please feel free to contact Ronny Mangrum at 931-374-8368, firstname.lastname@example.org, or write the above address.