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Friends of the 17th Missouri

The Friends of the 17th Missouri are dedicated to the preservation of the history of the 17th Missouri Volunteer Infantry Regiment.  Membership is open to all descendants of the men who served in the regiment during the Civil War and others interested in the regiment's history.  The principle goal of the Friends of the 17th Missouri is to identify and collect all written, photographic, pictorial, and antiquarian materials relating to the regiment.

The Friends of the 17th Missouri has collected copies of the official record books and rosters from the national archives in Washington D.C. and the Missouri State Archives in Jefferson City. In addition to materials related to the regiment abstracted from the 128 volume Official Record of the Civil War several important collections of letters and diaries have been obtained from the Missouri Historical Society at St. Louis, Western Manuscript Collection of the State Historical Society of Missouri at Columbia and private individuals. The Friends of the 17th Missouri intend to compile these materials into a regimental history to be published prior to the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

A special effort has been undertaken to preserve the 17th Missouri Regimental National Colors. The 17th Missouri's flag along with 128 other regimental flags and banners were collected by the Missouri Adjutant General in 1865. When plans to build a Civil War museum failed to materialize these flags remained furled and had not been seen by the public since the last parade at the end of the Civil War.

Today the Missouri State Museum has undertaken a program to unfurl and preserve these important symbols of Missouri's participation in the Civil War. Condition reports and treatment proposals have been prepared for 26 of the regimental flags. The restoration of many flags has been completed. The cost of these efforts range from $2,500 to nearly $17,000.

Although the 17th Missouri National Colors had not been included in the restoration program, the Friends of the 17th Missouri and Haus der Geschichte Baden-Württemburg raised the funds for the restoration of the 17th Missouri Flag. The flag was restored and preserved in 2002 by Textile Preservation Associates, Inc. The flag measures 55 1/2 inches on the leading edge and 66 inches (estimated) on the fly. The flag is constructed of silk in the typical pattern of the U.S. National Flag, 13 red and white stripes with a blue canton measuring 30 inches on the hoist and 36 inches on the fly resting on the eighth (white) stripe. The stars are applied to each side with gold pigment and are five pointed  measuring 2 3/4 inch point-to-point with the center star  4 1/2 inches. The precise number of original stars is unknown due to the poor condition of the flag but would have been 33, 34 or 35 depending on the year made.

The 17th Missouri National Colors is on loan to Haus der Geschichte Baden-Württemburg, Stuttgart, Germany until 2011, when it will be returned for the Sesquicentennial of the United States Civil War. 

The whereabouts of the 17th Missouri Regemental Flag is unknown. The replica shown here is based on standard U.S. issue regemental flag design.

There is speculation that the 17th Missouri, nicknamed the Western Turner Rifles, also carried a flag bearing the insignia of the North American Turnverein. However, there is no information to confirm the existence of a Western Turner Rifles flag.

Currently, the Missouri State Museum, located in the state capitol at Jefferson City contains a collection of Civil War materials including some of the personal affects of Captain John A. Schaub, Company G, 17th Missouri Volunteer Infantry (US).

The Missouri State Museum is seeking additional civil war memoralbillia. Potential donors should contact:

L. T. Shelton, Curator of Collections
Missouri State Museum
Room B2, Capitol Building
Jefferson City, Missouri 65101
(573) 751-2854

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