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Pennsylvania Civil War Battle Flags

PA Civil War Flags and the regiments that defended them.



141st PA State Color
This bullet-ridden flag shows what the ferocity of battle does to a flag that was carried through Chancellorsville and Gettysburg and had all of its color-guard annihilated.

During the Civil War, flags played an important part on every battlefield. They were the heart and soul of every regiment, and were protected at a staggering cost in flesh and blood. A tangible reminder of the federal government, the bullet-ridden and torn silk banners were a source of immense pride to the men in blue.

In battle, the flags were a rallying point when the regiment became disorganized. A usual command was for the men to close on colors. When the advance faltered, the colonel would order "Advance the colors" to inspire the men to follow their sacred flags. A large percent of Medal of Honor winners were awarded for action involving flags.

In spite of the importance of these flags, most state flag collections have been inaccessible to researchers. Thanks to the Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee, many of these flags have been preserved. They are custodian of approximately 390 Civil War battle flags for the state of Pennsylvania. The flags on this page are part of their collection which are available for viewing by appointment.

To view the flags in person, contact the
Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee
Room 630 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
(717) 783-6484

Source: Richard A. Sauers, Advance the Colors: Pennsylvania Civil War Battle Flags, Harrisburg: Capitol Preservation Committee, 1991.

More about PA regiments and their flags:
Advance the Colors: Pennsylvania Civil War Battle Flags, Vol. 1
Advance the Colors: Pennsylvania Civil War Battle Flags, Vol. 2

© Flag images and text reprinted with permission of the PA Capitol Preservation Committee. Civil War Databases

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