Union Artillery Flags

by Miriam Sullivan 


The regulations for Union Artillery flags during the Civil War were first spelled out in the General Orders of 1861 (Article L):


Colors of Artillery Regiments



Each regiment of Artillery shall have two silken colors. The first, or the national color of stars and stripes, as described for the garrison flag. The number and name of the regiment to be embroidered with gold on the centre stripe. The second, or regimental color, to be yellow, of the same dimensions as the first, bearing in the center two cannon crossing, with the letters U.S. above, and the number of the regiment below; fringe yellow. Each color to be six feet inches fly, and six feet deep on the pike. The pike, including the spear and ferrule, to be nine feet ten inches in length. Cords and tassels, red and yellow silk intermixed.


Standards and Guidons of Mounted Regiments



Each regiment will have a silken standard, and each company a silkin guidon. The standard to bear the arms of the United States, embroidered in silk, on a blue ground, with the number and name of the regiment, in a scroll underneath the eagle. The flag of the standard to be two feet five inches wide, and two feet three inches on the lance, and to be edged with yellow silk fringe.



The flag of the guidon is swallow-tailed, three feet five inches from the lance to the end of the swallow-tail; fifteen inches to the fork of the swallow-tail, and two feet three inches on the lance. To be half red and half white, dividing at the fork, the red above. On the red, the letters U.S. in the white; and on the white, the letter of the company in red. The lance of the standards and guidons to be nine feet long, including spear and ferrule.'


This was later amended by General Orders, No. 4:


I. Under instructions from the secretary of war dated January 7th, 1862, guidons and camp colors for the Army will be made like the United States flag, with stars and stripes.


Some artillery batteries were Mounted, and some were not. The term "heavy" artillery was usually applied to artillery on foot, whereas "light" artillerymen each had their own horse and could go much faster. Artillery batteries sometimes had flags made to the artillery standard (1437), and others had their flags made after the mounted regiments standard (1440 & 1441).


After 1862 battle honors were often added to artillery flags, in accordance with General Order No. 18


General Order No. 18 (1862):

'It has been ordered that there shall be inscribed upon the colors or guidons of all regiments and batteries in the service of the United States the names of the battle in which they have borne a meritorious part.'