July 1st. 1863
Iverson's Men (The 23rd, 20th, 12th and the 5th N.C.T.) were
marching toward the Federals on the first day of a three day battle in a town called Gettysburg. The Federals under Gen. Abner
Doubleday were well hidden from sight behind a stone wall.
Iverson's Brigade moving in a southeastern
direction left their flank open. The 5th N.C. was closest to the Federals followed by the 20th, 23rd and the 12th. The were
not aware of the Federals behind the wall. The Confederates were in perfect marching order when the Federals cut loose with
their first volley. This killed and wounded most of the Brigade. With the fire so fierce the Confederates had to fall back,
picking up the wounded along the way.
Union Brigadier Gen. Baxter ordered his men to fix bayonets
and charge the Confederates. They followed orders and went after the Confederates. The Federals were trying to get the Confederate
colors. The color-bearer for the 23rd was in hand to hand combat with a captain of the 88th Pa. The 23rd color-bearer was
trying to keep the colors out of enemy hands when a Sgt. from the 88thPa. clubbed him in the head with his musket. The Sgt.
grabbed the 23rds colors and took them to the rear. The Confederates badly out numbered was unable to keep up with the
fight and had to retreat. Many had to surrender.
The 23rd lost 84% of their men and officers
in this first days battle. The were put on guard detail for the rest of the battle.
The flag is now back in North Carolina in the Museum of History. The North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans
is currently accepting donations to help restore this flag. Once restored, it will be displayed in the North Carolina Museum
of History. To make a donation contact www.ncscv.net or any local NC SCV camp.