This 34-star silk national flag has been subsequently marked for the 27th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment by an unknown party. Union infantry regiments during the Civil War were typically issued a national color and state color which were both typically 6 feet by 6 feet 6 inches. Smaller flags, usually of the national pattern, were sometimes issued to each individual company in the regiment as a guidon or at the least to the flank companies to help with organization on a smoke filled battlefield. The 27th Massachusetts was raised in 1861 from the western counties of the state and took place in various minor and major engagements during the war including Roanoke Island, New Bern, Proctor's Creek, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg, before being mustered out in June of 1865. It is noted that in March of 1865 when the 27th was attacked at Wise's Forks, nearly their entire brigade was captured after resisting for over an hour against an entire rebel division, and their regimental colors barely avoided capture. This was due to the quick thinking of Color Sergeant McCleary and Color Corporal Cummings who, both wounded, rolled up the colors and hid them under a log where they were later recovered by members of the regiment. It is possible that this guidon was among those hidden colors. Between October 1861 and June 1864 the regiment was issued eight flags (may be only referring to national and state colors), of which three were retained by the state of Massachusetts. In all, 1,543 men served under the colors of the 27th Massachusetts during the Civil War, of which 121 were killed in combat, 132 died in Confederate prison camps, and 68 died of disease. This flag is approximately 31 1/2 inches tall and 33 1/2 inches wide excluding the gold fringe around three sides, and is in a typical 34-star, 13-stripe pattern. In the stripes marked with black is "ABRM. LINCOLN/GOD SAVE THE/UNION/27th Regt. Mass." There are various holes scattered throughout that have the appearance of battle damage. It is housed in a glass front frame that measures approximately 39 x 39 inches.
Fine as upgraded to current configuration using original flag as basis. Flags and guidons saw heavy use during the Civil War and being made of silk, few examples survived in any condition. The majority of the original color of the silk remains with the mild fading and staining, the staining most visible on the white stripes. More than half of the gold fringe around the edges remains and there are some scattered small holes throughout typical of battle use. The professionally made frame is very fine with some light handling/storage wear. An attractive addition to any Civil War or U.S. martial collection!
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