State Colors of the 61st Pennsylvania Volunteers

 

61st PA Volunteers - 3rd regimental colors

The image above is that of the third and final state colors which the 61st PVI received during the war. This flag as well as remnants of its first two flags are now stored in a special facility run by the state's Capitol Preservation Committee along with the colors of many other Pennsylvania volunteer regiments. Further information about this collection, which is located in Harrisburg, can be found at their web site.

The first colors were presented to the regiment in January of 1862 while it was encamped near Alexandria, VA. This flag was nearly destroyed on the first day's fighting at Fair Oaks on the 31st of May. Its fate thus mirrored the fortunes of the regiment in its most calamitous battle and very little of that flag now remains.

The regiment requested replacement colors later that year. This second flag was completed and received in the spring of 1863. It was then carried in the campaigns of both 1863 and 1864. The effects of hard fighting and exposure to the elements are evident in what remains of the flag today.

The third colors were actually completed in early 1864 but for some reason, the flag was not received until December of that year. As such, these colors were only used in the final campaign of the war, including the victorious assault on Petersburg.

All colors for the Pennsylvania regiments were formally returned to the state's care on July 4, 1866 as part of a major parade and ceremony which took place at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.


Source: Richard Sauer's excellent book, Advance the Colors (Volume I)

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