Gettysburg -- The First Day

By Harry W. Pfanz | Go to book overview

APPENDIX B
The Color Episode of
the 149th P.V.I.

The regimental colors, a silken U.S. flag and often the flag of the state to which the regiment belonged, had a very special meaning to units of Civil War armies. Like the standards of the Roman legions, they embodied the souls and honor of their regiments. The U.S. flag had the regiment’s number emblazoned on its stripes along with the names of the principal battles in which the regiment had fought. A regiment’s colors identified it, marked its location on the field, led it in the charge, and served as a rallying point in event of retreat. The regiments’ commanders accepted these flags from local officials and other dignitaries, and they promised to defend them, their honor, and the values that they represented. From that time until the regiment was mustered out of the service, the colors were the special responsibility of the regiment’s color company and its color guard. It was considered a great feat of arms to capture an enemy’s colors; on the other hand, it was considered a disgrace for a regiment to lose its flags unless under highly extenuating circumstances.1

The Confederate colors were more varied than their Union counterparts in both fabric and design. Regiments in the Army of Northern Virginia at the time of Gettysburg commonly carried the well-known battle flag. Yet they might have flaunted the official Confederate flag—the Stars and Bars—and one regiment carried the new Stainless Banner. The regiments of Pickett’s division are said to have carried Virginia’s state flag.2

The two flags carried by Union regiments measured six by six and a half feet; the Confederate battle flag was four feet square. All were carried on polished wood staffs. A gilded eagle topped the staff of the U.S. flag. The

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Gettysburg -- The First Day
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Introduction - Fredericksburg to the Potomac 1
  • Chapter 1 - Ewell’s Raid 10
  • Chapter 2 - Lee’s Army Concentrates 21
  • Chapter 3 - Meade’s Pursuit 30
  • Chapter 4 - Meade and Reynolds 43
  • Chapter 5 - Reconnaissance in Force 51
  • Chapter 6 - Reynolds’s Final and Finest Hour 69
  • Chapter 7 - Cutler’s Cock Fight 80
  • Chapter 8 - McPherson Woods 91
  • Chapter 9 - The Railroad Cut 102
  • Chapter 10 - Noon Lull 115
  • Chapter 11 - Howard and the Eleventh Corps 131
  • Chapter 12 - Ewell and Rodes Reach the Field 145
  • Chapter 13 - Oak Ridge 157
  • Chapter 14 - Daniel’s and Ramseur’s Brigades Attack 179
  • Chapter 15 - Daniel Strikes Stone 194
  • Chapter 16 - Schurz Prepares for Battle 214
  • Chapter 17 - Early’s Division Attacks 227
  • Chapter 18 - Gordon and Doles Sweep the Field 239
  • Chapter 19 - The Brickyard Fight 258
  • Chapter 20 - Heth Attacks 269
  • Chapter 21 - Retreat from McPherson Ridge 294
  • Chapter 22 - Seminary Ridge 305
  • Chapter 23 - Retreat through the Town 321
  • Chapter 24 - Cemetery Hill 331
  • Chapter 25 - Epilogue 350
  • Appendix A - John Burns 357
  • Appendix B - The Color Episode of the 149Th P.V.I 360
  • Appendix C - Children of the Battlefield 367
  • Appendix D - Order of Battle 370
  • Notes 381
  • Bibliography 437
  • Index 459
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