'Confederacy Forever' flag, ca. 1863


The flag that reads, "The Confederacy Forever From Home and Friends We'll Sever To Defend Her Rights," belonged to Capt. William Collins from his time serving with the 15th Mississippi Regiment. He took the flag with him when he and two other Confederates attempted to rob the Calais Bank on July 18, 1864.

The robbery failed, in part because Collins' brother, the Rev. John Collins of York, tipped off authorities. William Collins was convicted, along with his colleagues, of the attempted robbery and sent to the Maine State Prison at Thomaston.

Collins escaped 36 days later and made his way back to New Brunswick, where his parents lived. He left the flag in his prison cell. His brother claimed it.

The family were immigrants to St. John, New Brunswick, and held divided loyalties during the American Civil War.

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