Flag of the United States
The Stars and Stripes
famous name was coined by Captain Stephen Driver, a shipmaster of Salem,
Massachusetts, in 1831. As he was leaving on one of his many voyages aboard
the brig CHARLES DOGGETT - and this one would climax with the rescue of the
mutineers of the BOUNTY - some friends presented him with a beautiful flag
of twenty four stars. As the banner opened to the ocean breeze for the first
time, he exclaimed "Old Glory!"
He retired to
Nashville in 1837, taking his treasured flag from his sea days with him.
By the time the Civil War erupted, most everyone in and around Nashville
recognized Captain Driver's "Old Glory." When Tennesee seceded
from the Union, Rebels were determined to destroy his flag, but repeated
searches revealed no trace of the hated banner.
Then on February
25th, 1862, Union forces captured Nashville and raised the American flag
over the capital. It was a rather small ensign and immediately folks began
asking Captain Driver if "Old Glory" still existed. Happy to have
soldiers with him this time, Captain Driver went home and began ripping at
the seams of his bedcover. As the stitches holding the quilt-top to the batting
unraveled, the onlookers peered inside and saw the 24-starred original "Old
gently gathered up the flag and returned with the soldiers to the capitol.
Though he was sixty years old, the Captain climbed up to the tower to replace
the smaller banner with his beloved flag. The Sixth Ohio Regiment cheered
and saluted - and later adopted the nickname "Old Glory" as their
own, telling and re-telling the story of Captain Driver's devotion to the
flag we honor yet today.
grave is located in the old Nashville City Cemetery, and is one of three
(3) places authorized by act of Congress where the Flag of the United States
may be flown 24 hours a day.
"Old Glory" is
the most illustrious of a number of flags - both Northern and Confederate
- reputed to have been similarly hidden, then later revealed as times changed.
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