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Russ Bynum, Associated Press
In this Wednesday, March 21, 2012 photo, a Confederate unit flag that belonged to the Emmett Rifles, a Georgia-based company during the Civil War, hangs at Fort McAllister state park in Richmond, Ga., 148 years after the fort fell to Gen. William T. Sherman’s army. The flag was captured by a Union officer who left it to his family with a handwritten request that it be returned to Georgia. His great-grandson, Robert Clayton of Islesboro, Maine, donated the flag to the state park, which plans a dedication ceremony in April.

RICHMOND HILL, Ga. — A Confederate flag captured by Union troops during the Civil War has been returned to the South thanks to the great grandson of one of Gen. William T. Sherman's artillery officers.

The flag belonged to a Georgia company called the Emmett Rifles and was put on display last month at Fort McAllister, which fell to Sherman's forces in December 1864, days before they captured nearby Savannah. The fort is now a Georgia state park.

The silk banner was donated by Robert Clayton of Islesboro, Maine, whose great-grandfather served under Sherman. Clayton found the flag 20 years ago along with a note that read: "To be return to Savannah or Atlanta sometime."

Civil War experts say similar flags are known to exist, but most were destroyed during the war.