Confederate Battle Flag Of Gen. Lloyd Tilghman Brings $59,750 As Top Lot In $1.16 Million Civil War Auction
Rare artifacts relating to famous Sons of the South proved both popular and valuable with the more than 780 bidders who competed for almost 900 lots in Heritage Auctions' $1.5 million June 25 Signature Arms & Militaria Including Civil War auction, with the Presentation Flag of Confederate Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman, along with the Inscribed Sword and Sword Belt he was wearing when he was killed in battle at Champion's Hill, leading the way with a $59,750 price realized. All prices include 19.5% Buyer's Premium.
"This was the very first time that this flag, along with the entire set, has ever been offered," said Dennis Lowe, Director of Arms & Militaria Including Civil War Auctions at Heritage, "and collectors took very close notice. All three of these pieces have descended, uninterrupted, through Tilghman's family for almost 150 years. This beautiful and moving piece is simply steeped in American history."
Tilghman was born in Maryland and graduated from West Point in 1836. In 1847 he saw action in the Mexican War and, at the outbreak of the Civil War, commanded the Kentucky State Guard, assuming command of the 3rd Kentucky Inf. on July 5, 1861 and being promoted to Brig. Gen. on Oct. 18 of that same year.
Tilghman oversaw the construction of Forts Henry & Donelson and was subsequently captured at Fort Henry on Feb. 6, 1862 before being imprisoned at Fort Warren for six months. On Aug. 15 of that year he was exchanged for Union Gen. John Reynolds. Nine months later he was killed in action at the Battle of Champion's Hill, on May 16, 1863.
One of the most hotly anticipated lots of the auction, a Matthew Brady Half Plate Ambrotype featuring "The Gallant Pelham," Lieut. John Pelham, circa 1858, was the subject of much pre-auction buzz, and did not disappoint as it brought $41,825. Pelham is one of the most highly romanticized figures of the American Civil War.
"This important original image, while copied countless hundreds of times," said Lowe, "was presumed lost for more than a century before it was discovered to have descended in the family of Pelham's sister for the last 100 years."
Civil War Battle Flags, as evidenced by the top lot in this auction, are among the most highly desirable artifacts from the War Between the States, especially if they are specifically associated with important figures from the war. However, flags without specific association, but important and unimpeachable provenance are also very much coveted by collectors, as seen by the $50,788 final price realized for an early Civil War prototype Confederate National/Battle Flag manufactured for the cause in Georgia.