One newspaper article from 1865
reported Abraham Lincoln grasped this flag upon being
shot by John Wilkes Booth at Fordís Theatre on the night
of April 14.
Other witnesses claimed Lincoln pushed it away to get
a better view of ďOur American Cousin,Ē the play he and
wife Mary were watching.
Whatever role the Treasury Guard Regimentís national
flag played, itís considered one of the last things
The flag is on view at the Abraham Lincoln
Presidential Museumís temporary exhibit, ďBlood on the
Moon,Ē a 3,000-square-foot examination of Lincolnís
On loan from the Connecticut Historical Society, the
flag was installed at the exhibit Tuesday morning - the
final artifact to takes its place in the show. The
exhibit, which runs until Oct. 16, showcases roughly 60
items relating to the assassination, including Lincolnís
deathbed and the horse carriage the Lincolns rode to
Fordís Theatre that night. The flag was one of five
decorating their theater box.
During the Civil War, major government departments
had their own regiments. The treasury departmentís guard
enlisted approximately 1,000 men who were charged with
defending Washington, D.C., which was threatened at
various times during the war by Confederate advances.
The Treasury Guard never saw battle and was disbanded in
October 1865 by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.
A little larger than 6-by-6 feet, the silk flag was
one of two from the guard that decorated the Lincolns'
box. The other, the guard's official regimental flag, is
at Ford's Theatre. That flag is probably the one that
tripped up Booth, whose spur allegedly snagged on
something as he leapt out of the balcony and onto the
stage after shooting Lincoln in back of the head.
The Connecticut Historical Society received the
guard's national flag in 1922, when it was donated by
Robert Yergason. He inherited the flag from his father,
Edgar Yergason, a Civil War veteran, Lincoln supporter
and interior designer who redecorated the White House
during the Harrison administration. In 1907, the elder
Yergason received the flag as a gift from Henry Cobaugh,
then the head of security for the treasury department.
Over the years, the flag "badly deteriorated,"
according to a report by the Connecticut Historical
Society. Extensive conservation a few years ago pieced
together what remained of its brittle fabric.
The flag was presented to the treasury department's
regiment in 1864 by the "ladies of the treasury
department." There's a different image on each side's
canton. On one side, an eagle is surrounded by 35
gold-painted stars. On the other side, which will not be
in view, a seated female figure represents liberty.
Pete Sherman can be contacted at 788-1539 or