Wool bunting, 68 x 110 in., with 23 machine-sewn, single-appliqued wool bunting stars configured in straight rows on a 3-piece white linen canton that has been crudely hand-dyed blue; 2 of which have oxidized to a purplish-blue color while the remaining segment is faded. The fly consists of machine-sewn, cotton muslin stripes. Worn machine-sewn linen sleeve encircling a hemp rope.
Maine was admitted into the Union as the 23rd state on March 15th, 1820, and the 23-star flag represented the nation until Missouri entered the Union on August 10, 1821. Over this brief period of approx. 5 months, few 23-star flags were made, and very few have survived up until now. It has been suggested that less than three 23-star flags are known to exist.
Based on materials and construction, this flag was fabricated ca late 1860s to 1880. While most of the flag is machine-sewn, the sewing pattern and style is consistent with machines used ca 1850-1860s rather than that of machines used during the 1870s, which may be an indication that this 23-star flag was produced during the later years of the Civil War to be carried by a Maine military unit. Considering the larger size of the flag, it would have likely been used at a base camp to identify a unit's commander or headquarters.
Repairs and patches have been made along the fly end and there is evidence of some minor wind shear damage.