Defending The Flag

Every regiment that marched onto the fields of battle was led by at least one flagbearer who was purposely positioned in the center front of the regiment. The flags were the largest and most colorful objects on the field. Through the smoke and terror of battle they acted as guide, symbol, and rallying point.

 Flags had unique shapes, colors, and designs to help Soldiers distinguish them from a distance

 Many of the flags were sewn by wives and mothers who sent their men off to war

 As the Civil War continued, regimental flags often became something of a scrapbook, as the names of battles fought by the regiment would be stitched into the flags

 MORE THAN 100 SOLDIERS RECEIVED THE MEDAL OF HONOR FOR FLAG RELATED ACTIONS

Capture

HIRAM R. HOWARD

CITATION: Scaled the enemy's works and in a hand-to-hand fight helped capture the flag of the 18th Alabama Infantry (C.S.A.).

Rank and organization

Private, Company H
11th Ohio Infantry

Place and date

At Missionary Ridge, Tenn., 25 November 1863

Defend

ANDREW J. TOZIER

CITATION: At the crisis of the engagement this soldier, a color bearer, stood alone in an advanced position, the regiment having been borne back, and defended his colors with musket and ammunition picked up at his feet.

Rank and organization

Sergeant, Company I
20th Maine Infantry

Place and date

At Gettysburg, Pa., 2 July 1863

Rally

JAMES M.BURNS

CITATION:  Under a heavy fire of musketry, rallied a few men to the support of the colors, in danger of capture and bore them to a place of safety. One of his comrades having been severely wounded in the effort, Sgt. Burns went back a hundred yards in the face of the enemy's fire and carried the wounded man from the field.

Rank and organization

Sergeant, Company B
1st West Virginia Infantry

Place and date

At New Market, Va., 15 May 1864

Advance

JOHN G. B. ADAMS

CITATION: Seized the 2 colors from the hands of a corporal and a lieutenant as they fell mortally wounded, and with a color in each hand advanced across the field to a point where the regiment was reformed on those colors.

Rank and organization

Second Lieutenant, Company I,
19th Massachusetts Infantry

Place and date

At Fredericksburg, Va., 13 December 1862