|This 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
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
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 Glory"!
Captain Driver 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.
Captain Driver's 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.
No one knows where "Old Glory" resides
today. A caption above a faded black and white picture in the book, The
Stars and the Stripes, says only that " 'Old Glory' may no longer be opened
to be photographed, and no color
photograph is available." Visible
in the photo in the lower right corner of the canton is an appliqued anchor,
Captain Driver's very personal note. "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.