Civil War Flags

Civil War flags was a term used for the flags carried by Civil War regiments. Both armies used flags, which they also referred to as colors, to locate their troops on the battlefield, in camp, and while on the march. Battle flags were used to guide soldiers in battle. Wherever the flags went, the soldiers followed. Flags led the charge or led the retreat. A regiment’s flag was carried by a color sergeant who was the central man in the color guard. A color guard was composed of six corporals whose job was to protect the color sergeants and the flags of the regiment. The regiment’s flag was a great source of pride in each regiment and to lose the flag in battle was a great disgrace. The capture of an opponent’s flag was, in turn, a great honor. While infantry regiments had their flags, there were also special flags made for headquarters, the artillery, cavalry, and even the quartermaster and engineers- almost every unit had one! Columns of soldiers marching toward Gettysburg were easily identified by the colorful flags that each unit carried, most having the name of the regiment painted on them.