Civil War Institute
In doing research for a previous post, I learned about the stand of the Sixteenth Maine at the Battle of Gettysburg. What struck me most about their sacrifice was the fact that before they were captured they made sure to tear up their colors and distribute the pieces among the men. They did this in order to ensure that the Confederates wouldn’t be able to capture their colors, an act that would have disgraced the Sixteenth Maine and detracted from their valiant sacrifice. In addition, this allowed the men to keep a piece of their flag, to be reminded of their sacrifice and courage while they sat in a Confederate prison. Stories about regimental flags such as this one abound, which begs the question of why colors and color bearers were so important that men put themselves in immense danger to protect them.
This is the author's version of the work. This publication appears in Gettysburg College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.
Labbe, Savannah A., "For Duty, Honor, and Family: Color Bearers in the Civil War" (2017). The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History. 197.