The Artifact Gallery was made possible by a generous gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee.
Elihu H. Shepard, an experienced veteran of the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War, remained active in the military as he neared the age of 70. As a member of the St. Louis Grays, one of several militia companies in the city, he was among those captured at Camp Jackson on May 10, 1861, as part of the Union military’s attempt to thwart a secessionist seizure of the U.S. Arsenal. Though many of the Grays were secessionist and went on to join the Confederacy, Shepard was not. A year after his parole in 1861 Shepard joined the Old Guard, a Union military company organized in 1862 for the local defense of St. Louis. This flag was presented to Shepard’s unit before it left for battle in the Mexican-American War. Shepard kept the flag and added stars to it whenever a new state was added to the Union. The 35-star flag was official during the second half of the Civil War.