The 25th Army Corps of Unionist troops in the US Civil War consisted entirely of black troops, commanded for most of its existence by Maj. Gen. Godfrey Weitzel. The corps was formed in 1864, and when it was disbanded in 1866, Weitzel praised the men for acting with great dignity, contrary to the expectations of racists.
Their conduct he said, "...has been such to draw praise from persons most prejudiced against color, and there is no record which should give the colored race more pride than that left by the 25th".
The fall of Richmond, Virginia was a great moment for Weitzel and the 25th company, and his descendents recently passed a flag under which they entered Richmond on to auction.
Estimated at $25,000 - $35,000, bidders regarded this classic piece of Americana as more valuable still, and the price was quickly buffeted up past the top estimate, finally selling for $50,787.50.
In the same sale, one of six confederate flags captured in battle near Richmond by the 18th Army Corps under Weitzel's command was also sold, for an impressive $37,000.
The auction shows again that people are always prepared to pay good money for the very best in American memorabilia. Those interested in the Civil War may wish to take a look at this document signed by Abraham Lincoln.