Civil War Flags


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Infantry Colors

Each Civil War Infantry regiment had two flags, by military definition these were called the regimental colors--a national color and a regimental color. According to the Army Regulations:

"Each regiment of Infantry shall have two silken colors. The first, or the national color, of stars and stripes, as described for the garrison flag; the number and name of the regiment to be embroidered with silver on the center stripe. The second, or regimental color, to be blue, with the arms of the United States embroidered in silk on the center. The name of the regiment in a scroll, underneath the eagle. The size of each color to be six feet six inches fly, and six feet deep on the pike. The length of the pike, including the spear and ferrule, to be nine feet ten inches. The fringe yellow; cords and tassels, blue and white silk intermixed."

After February 1862 also inscribed upon the colors of the regiment were the names of the battles in which the regiment "have borne a meritorious part."

During the Civil War some of the Illinois regiments carried Regimental Colors that were different from those issued by the Federal government. Perhaps the most striking is that of the 90th Illinois Infantry.

In addition to the colors described above many infantry regiments also carried camp, guide or flank markers (also called guidons)--the terms are used interchangeably. These flags were usually eighteen inches square and mounted on an eight foot staff. Early in the War they were white with the number of the regiment in the center. Later in the War they were similar to the national flag. These colors were used in camp to mark the color line and were used as markers during dress parade. In the Illinois flag collection there are some Infantry regimental guidons with a swallow tail pattern, similar to that used by the cavalry.

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