The flags of a regiment were the symbols of its spirit. They were never to fall. It was a great disgrace for unit to have its flag captured, and a great triumph to capture the enemy's flag. The flag bearers were unarmed and led the march into battle with their flags held high. The flag was the rallying point for the regiment, and a target for the enemy soldiers. The strength of an army could be determined by the number of regimental flags. The flags were an aid to the generals by marking a unit's position on the battlefield. To serve in a unit's color guard was an honor and the man chosen to be color bearer had the most dangerous position in the regiment. The flags were held with such high esteem that many men fell in battle trying to keep the unit's colors flying. During the Union assault at Vicksburg on the Stockade Redan, seventeen men of the 1st Battalion, 13th U.S. Infantry, fell trying to keep the flag aloft.
Discuss with your students the importance of the flags to the Civil War soldier. Have the students color the flags on the activity sheet. You may want your students to construct flags out of cloth. Older students can research stories about the valor of the color bearers. Your class may wish to design their own flag, or a flag for their field trip to the park.
- Social Studies
- K- 12
Students will understand the significance of the battle flags.
Flag activity sheet, crayons markers, cloth, sewing supplies, fusible webbing, glue gun.
Flag Activity Sheet:
- Activity Sheet
- Activity Sheet Key