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"Union Flags in the Peninsular" Topic


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Idler20331 Aug 2021 11:50 a.m. PST

Can anyone help? Trying to work out what system, if any, existed for Union corps, division and brigade flags in the Peninsular.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP31 Aug 2021 12:49 p.m. PST

No system that I am aware of. The general order creating brigade, division, and corps flags wasn't issued until 1863. I would designate the type of command stand by the number of figures on the base. For example, a brigade command stand might contain a mounted officer and a mounted standard bearer, a division command state would have a general, a standard bearer, and a staff officer, etc.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian31 Aug 2021 1:39 p.m. PST

I agree with 79th PA

The 'standard' symbols and cap badges came much later

vagamer63 Supporting Member of TMP31 Aug 2021 10:05 p.m. PST

Yes indeed there was a system for identification of Corps, Divisions, Brigades, and Regiments developed and put into place early in 1862 under General Order No. 102. This used the 3 Standard colors Red, Blue, and White to delineate the 4 various organizations so as to show where the Commander was located on the field, or in camp.

An explanation of the exact description for each organization can be found in the OR's. Hopefully your local library, or Historical Society has a full set on hand. Also if you can find or borrow a copy of Vol. 1 of the U.S. Infantry from the American Revolution to the Indian Wars by Fred Funcken, pages 110-111. There is a full description of this system (in French), and a full color diagram showing both the '62 & '63 Systems used.

Another source, "Officers and Soldiers of the American Civil War" Vol. 1, by "Histoire and Collections" pages 28-29 has an excellent diagram of both the systems used by the U.S. Army through the Civil War.

Also, Todd's "American Military Equipage 1851-1872 has a full description of both the systems used, as well as exact dates when each was put into use and discontinued.

So there was a System in place and in use until the changes made by General Hooker.

Idler20301 Sep 2021 2:03 a.m. PST

Many thanks for this. Will try to track down the Funcken book

Idler20301 Sep 2021 3:27 a.m. PST

Hi Vagamer63

I have had a look for the 3 texts you mention, the Funcken, the Officers and Soldiers of the American Civil War" Vol. 1, and Todd's "American Military Equipage 1851-1872. All are available on Abe books but from US vendors. I am in the UK and have a game planned in about a week's time (I know, should have done my prep earlier) so no time for books from the States to arrive. Would you be able to say, in a few words, how the '62 brigade flag system worked? There is this tantalising line from the Union Army Wikipedia entry "An initial generic design was eventually replaced with a triangular flag which would have the symbol of their parent corps and be color-coded to designate brigade and division numbering within the corps". Any info on what the 'initial generic design' looked like might allow me at least get something, albeit quite crude, that would pass muster for the photos I hope to take of the game

Eumelus Supporting Member of TMP01 Sep 2021 7:24 a.m. PST

Here's an excerpt from the General Order in question:

Excerpt from General Order No.102, Headquarters, Army of the Potomac
Camp near Alexandria Seminary, Virginia, March 24, 1862

"XI. Flags will be used to designate the various headquarters, as follows:

General Headquarters: National flag.
First Army Corps: National flag with a small square red flag beneath.
Second Army Corps: National flag with a small square blue flag beneath.
Third Army Corps: National flag with a small square blue and red flag, vertical, beneath.
Fourth Army Corps: National flag with a small square blue and red flag, horizontal, beneath.

First Division of an army corps: Red flag, 6 feet long and 5 feet wide.
Second Division of an army corps: Blue flag, 6 feet long and 5 feet wide.
Third Division of an army corps: Vertical red and blue flag, 6 feet long and 5 feet wide.
Fourth Division of an army corps: Horizontal red and blue flag, 6 feet long and 6 feet wide.

First Brigade of First Division: Red and white flag, 6 feet long and 5 wide, vertical.
Second Brigade of First Division: White, red, and white flag, 6 feet long, 5 wide, vertical.
Third Brigade of First Division: Red, white, and red flag, 6 feet long and 5 wide, vertical.
First Brigade of Second Division: Blue and white flag, 6 feet long and 5 wide, vertical.
Second Brigade of Second Division: White, blue, and white flag, 6 feet long, 5 wide, vertical.
Third Brigade of Second Division: Blue, white, and blue flag, 6 feet long and 5 wide, vertical.
First Brigade of Third Division: Red, white, and blue flag, 6 feet long and 5 wide, vertical.
Second Brigade of Third Division: Red, blue, and white flag, 6 feet long and 5 wide, vertical.
Third Brigade of Third Division: White, red, and blue flag, 6 feet long and 5 wide, vertical.
First Brigade of Fourth Division: Red, white, and blue flag, 6 feet long and 5 wide, horizontal.
Second Brigade of Fourth Division: Red, blue, and white flag, 6 feet long and 5 wide, horizontal.
Third Brigade of Fourth Division: White, red, and blue flag, 6 feet long and 5 wide, horizontal.

The different regiments of the brigades will be designated by numbers 1,2,3,4 on the flag of the brigade to which they belong; white numbers on colored bars and colored numbers on white bars.

The artillery will have the colors of the division to which it belongs and be distinguished by a right-angled triangular flag 6 feet long and 3 feet wide at the staff.

The cavalry have the same as above except that the shape will be swallow-tailed.

The Engineers will have a white disk of a diameter equal to one-third of its width on the flag of the division to which it belongs.

The Regular Brigade will have a white star on a red flag, the regimental number being in the middle of the star.

The hospitals will be distinguished by a yellow flag.

The subsistence depots will be designated by a green flag."

(From The Official Records, Series I. Vol 11, Part III, Operations in Virginia March 17-September 2, 1862. In the printed copy, the above excerpt is on pages 34-35.)

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP01 Sep 2021 8:01 a.m. PST

Thank you for that information.

Ryan T01 Sep 2021 8:19 a.m. PST

+1 Eumuelus. the issue is also addressed at link

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP01 Sep 2021 11:58 a.m. PST

I have seen those images before. Thanks for the reminder.

Idler20303 Sep 2021 4:04 a.m. PST

This is fantastic. Many thanks for all this and sorry for delay in thanking you (seemed to have temporarily locked myself out of TMP)

donlowry03 Sep 2021 10:00 a.m. PST

Of course, the 1st Corps never served on the Peninsula (as a corps, though some of its divisions did).

And once the provisional 5th and 6th Corps were created, the whole system would have been thrown off.

donlowry03 Sep 2021 10:02 a.m. PST

Incidentally, "Peninsular" is an adjective. "Peninsula" is the noun. As in: the Peninsular Campaign was fought on the Peninsula.

Bill N03 Sep 2021 7:05 p.m. PST

Peninsula is not just a noun. It is a proper noun. Virginia has a number of peninsulas, but there is only one Peninsula in Virginia.

donlowry04 Sep 2021 9:26 a.m. PST

Well, I did capitalize it. And, yes, it is often called "the Virginia Peninsula," it being the area where Virginia got started -- Jamestown, etc.

I think, in the U.S., "Peninsular" is seldom used, and it is referred to as the Peninsula Campaign. Britain had its own Peninsular Campaign (with the R) during the Napoleonic Wars, with the peninsula in question being the Iberian Peninsula, i.e. Spain and Portugal (defending those countries from France).

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