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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Vicksburg: A family's Heritage- A Father and Sons Journey

In June of this year I was forced to make a humbling journey. My best friend growing up, Major Robert Lemire, had passed away and my youngest son and I trekked to Mississippi for the funeral. Bob and I had been friends for over 30 years. I was blessed to be accompanied by my son. Not only did we do some needed bonding but he acted as a support system for me in this trying time. In an effort to make some part of this trip a little less solemn, we made a side trip to the Vicksburg National Battlefield as we started home.

Vicksburg holds a special place for our family because my Great (insert many here) Grandfather Captain William Cundiff and his brother Lt. Thomas Cundiff participated in the battle. Their moment of glory came on May 22, 1863 when as members of the 19th Kentucky Volunteers they assaulted the Confederate fortifications at the Railroad Redoubt. For those who are not familiar with this term, it refers to an earthen field fortification usually defended by artillery. The men of the 19th, along with the rest of Landrum’s and Lawler's brigade were the only Federals to break the Confederate lines at Vicksburg by assault. After capturing the redoubt, they held the ground for 5 long hours until finally being forced out by a brigade of brave Texans. Had they held the breach, Vicksburg would likely have fallen two months earlier.

The May 22nd attack was the second assault on the Confederate city. The day before, General Grant had ordered a grand assault all along the city’s defenses in an attempt to take the town by storm. With this assault’s failure, he decided to launch one more grand attack on the 22nd. As dawn broke on the next day the troops of Landrum’s (77th Ill, 97th Ill, 130th Ill, 48th OH and 19th KY) and Lawler’s (21st IA, 22nd IA, 23rd IA, and 11th WI) Brigades moved into positions. When all was ready, the Federal guns opened up on the Confederate works. Hearts crowed with fear, the Union troops prepared to once again crash their wave against the rocky Confederate coast.

The men of the 19th were from the towns and farms around Somerset, Kentucky. With farming as the primary occupation, they had grown accustom to hard work. Mustered in October 1861, the regiment had participated in the Cumberland Gap Campaign and was now engaged in Grants Vicksburg endeavor. Their commanding officer, William J. Landrum, had been promoted to Brigade command and along with the members of his brigade, he stepped off at 10 AM to assault the fortifications.

The terrain in front of the Confederate Lines consisted of rolling hills with a deep valley just before the trenches. Mounting a bayonet attack against the trenches, the men of Landrum’s and Lawler’s Brigades pushed the 31st Alabama and two other regiments out of the works. With the Colors planted on the crest they held the fort for several hours. Finally, a push by a Texas regiment forced the federals to retire about 5 pm.

So with the sun shining in our faces, my son and I climbed the works once again and stood where our family fought. It was a very proud moment being able to share this piece of family history with my son. We may never be able to make the trip to Vicksburg again but Chris and I were able to share a close moment on those works.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

To Save an Army: George Washington and the Battle of Trenton 1776

One of the most iconic images of the American Revolution is that famous painting of George Washington Crossing the Delaware proudly standing with his stalwart soldiers rowing. This picture has been used to teach children about the American Revolution for as long as I can remember. While this painting has inspired generations of Americans and historians, the truth behind the event is even a more fascinating story.

In the fall of 1776, Washington was facing a crisis. His army had been forced to abandon New York and had by necessity to retreat from New Jersey into Pennsylvania. Unlike conflicts in the future where recruits would flock to join the ranks, the Continental Army was in serious want of men. While Washington had limited militia troops at his disposal, he held no faith in their ability. Seeing Militia flee time and again during both the French and Indian War and on garrison duty on the Virginia frontier, and their dismal performance thus far, he had no faith in their ability to stand against trained English troops. By December of 1776, the only thing Washington had to oppose Howe’s army and protect Philadelphia, the home of the Continental Congress, was a bare 2,500 Continental troops and a scant few militia.

To compound these problems, the Continental Army faced an even graver threat. The enlistments of all the troops in the regular Continental forces were due to expire at midnight on December 31st. In a confidential letter, Washington wrote “If every nerve is not strained to recruit the new army with all possible expedition, I think the game is pretty near up…..”.[1] Each time the enlistments of troops expired, Washington was forced to spend valuable time in an attempt to re-train the new army. Without a core of veterans there was no way the Colonials could stand against the troops of the British Empire.
Not only was he facing the might of the British Army but his own army was about to walk away. While Washington pushed regimental officers to get their troops to re-enlist the tree had not bared any fruit. And why should the army re-enlist? They were ill clothed, ill fed, and largely ill led. After a series of constant defeats and forced retreats, many thought the cause was all but lost.

What Washington needed was one of two outcomes. He needed some sort of action to spur the army into re-enlisting. The army must be brought to believe they could win against British troops. He hoped that with a substantial victory they would gladly sign their new enlistment papers. On the other hand, if the army was to abandon the course of Liberty, he was determined to use it while he had it to keep Howe at bay long enough to train the new army.
So as it grew dark on December 25, 1776, Washington and his 7,900 Continentals (he had recently been augmented by 2,000 men of Lees command and 600 from Gates Command) started for the fords and boats to cross the Delaware. In the early dawn they attacked the town to Trenton New Jersey along 3 axis. In the ensuing battle, they managed to kill twenty-five to thirty of the Hessian mercenaries and capture 918, the most of the kings troops ever captured up to this point in the war. I would encourage my readers to brush up on Trenton as it provides the military historian with a great example river crossing operations. Quickly following this victory, the Continentals took the city of Burlington and the army was firmly back on New Jersey soil.

On December 29, 1776 Washington stepped in front of the regiments from New England and played his last card. In a speech that could only be described as passionate he touted the recent victories and explained that they would not have been possible without veteran soldiers. On his own accord, without congressional approval, he offered the troops a ten dollar bounty and a promise of more victories if these troops would only enlist for six additional weeks in order to get the new levies into fighting shape. Not a man moved. Was this the answer, heaping disgrace on top of humiliation?

With one final attempt, he pleaded his case with the assembled troops. As the drums beat their final tattoo, a few men stepped forward. Then in twos and threes they came forward with only those who were too sick or feeble remaining behind. These stalwart men became the core of the new Continental Army. Many would stay beyond the six weeks and served to the end of the war. Imagine what would have happened to the revolution if Washington had simply let the army fade away. As soon as the ice was thick enough on the Delaware, Howe could have crossed and crushed the new recruits and with them the American Revolution.

Freeman, Douglas Southall. Washington. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1968.

[1] This book is an abridged version of the original 7 volume work. Douglas Southall Freeman, Washington (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1968), 317.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

American Riflemen Change the World

If you ask military historians, many will tell you that America had very little influence on military science until the later part of the 20th century. Most of the military techniques which were used by the US Army were adaptations from French and English field manuals. The evolution of the line and troop maneuvering procedures came directly from the European style of combat. America did however provide quite possibly the greatest innovation to warfare since the advent of gunpowder. When the Colonial militia began to employ the rifle in addition ot the traditional smooth bore musket against British troops in 1774 they introduced the world to the power of accurate fire and ushered in a new form of warfare.

Although rifles have been in service around the world since the 1600’s, they really came into their own during the American Revolution. What is truly fascinating is that even though the Americans proved how effective the rifle could be, they did not come into general use as a military arm until the 1850’s. The lesson of the rifle on the battlefield and its effects were learned by the British but seldom acknowledged in other European countries.

In the American Revolution, frontier riflemen were used a not only skirmishers, fighting from concealed positions, but as true force multipliers. Under the British military system, the leadership was what we would call today a top down eastern bloc leadership style. Officers issued orders and sergeants and corporals carried out those orders. The individual infantrymen were largely uneducated and not allowed to make independent decisions. The loss of leadership would cripple the ability of English battalions to perform in the field. The American riflemen were notorious for targeting the officers and sergeants. They could deliver effective killing shots at ranges that far exceeded the range of the English Tower (or Brown Bess) musket. As the officers fell, the attacking battalion disintegrated into a disorganized mob. Thus a company of riflemen had the ability to hold off and scatter a battalion of the Kings infantry.

Instead of dressing in the uniform of the Continental Army, the riflemen typically dressed in the fringed hunting coats of the frontier. Just the sight of troops dressed thus would strike fear into the hearts of the English officers on the battlefield. The fear was so great General Washington, when short of riflemen, dressed some of his regular troops in frock coats for the shock effect.

After the Revolution, the English began to develop a rifle of their own. By 1800, they began to field the Baker Rifle. This new gun was shorter than the traditional long rifle and sported a 24-inch sword bayonet instead of the traditional triangular one. The Baker did not see general use; they were reserved for elite regiments and selected skirmish companies in various battalions. The most famous of these units was the 95th Rifles. Clad in their green jackets and trousers, these “grasshoppers” as they were called were able to wreak havoc on the French troops. None of the French units during the Napoleonic period were armed with rifles due primarily to Napoleon’s opinion that the rifle was too slow to load and thus reduced their firepower. The green jacks did the same to the French that American Riflemen had done to them. The focused on killing the officers and NCO’s throwing the battalions into chaos.

By the American Civil War, most of the world’s armies had a rifle of some form. What is distressing is that when the rifle went into general use, they completely forgot the lessons of the American frontier riflemen and the English green jackets. With the rifle in general use among field armies, leaders reverted to the standard liner battle tactics use with the smooth bore musket. Relying on mass and liner formation, the carnage was horrific.

It is interesting to see that the rifle started is military tradition in the United States and truly came into its own 100 years later in the United States. From that point on, the American rifleman has defended these shores against all who threaten her peace and security.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ride’n for the Brand

The last couple of posts have been about the Civil War so let’s jump forward just a bit to the American west. There is a term used by western men which I believe is becoming a lost ideal in the world. When a western man said he was riding for the brand it meant something. But what does this truly mean?

The brand was the cattle outfit or ranch a man worked at. At its most basic level, the brand was a marking placed on cattle to identify the owner during the free range days of the westward expansion. Brands such as the Rocking K, B-Bar, and Running S were used as markers for the various ranches. But, in reality, the brand meant much more. It represented the men who worked the cattle and a code of honor.

To say you rode for the brand meant you supported it through thick and thin. You worked hard days and long nights, fought weather outlaws, and Indians. If a cow hand or the ranch came into trouble, the men who rode for the brand came to the defense. A pity to the man who went after a Flying T hand because when he turned around he was facing all the hands of the T. Just like a family, the hands might fight among themselves but would defend the ranch and each other to the end. You could also count on the men of the brand to help and protect your family when you were not around.

Today, we still have brands although we often don’t recognize them. Your brand may be your family name, or an organization you support. It is also may be your job. A man who stands behind the brand will not do things to damage the place he works or his family or jump ship to another firm doing the same thing for personal gain. What ever your choice is, when the brand is attacked you jump to its defense.

This is not true for all people. Some are weak of constitution and have no honor. These poor souls who shrink from a fight for self preservation or fear of standing alone have no place among men. What these folks must realize is that when you stand with the brand, you are never alone. I know that whenever trouble starts all the riders will come running. To choose to ride for the brand is tough. It is never the easy path but the rewards can be more than you hoped.

The next time someone asks you where you stand, tell them you “Ride for the Brand”

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

“Now boys, this aint a Christian way to fight a war!”

As I study history, the part which really makes it come alive for me are the stories behind the stories. Everyone knows what Gettysburg is, but how many people know who Jenny Wade is? Most know Yorktown was where George Washington finally defeated the English but who were the heroes who took the outlying redoubts? It is the little vignettes which tell the whole story.

As my partner in crime and I were researching for an upcoming project, I ran across an account of an ambush which took place in the rugged mountains of the Kentucky/Tennessee boarder. This event includes troops, Indians, and scalping. Sounds like a John Wayne movie right? Well it is an actual event. Trying to adhere to good research principals, I verified this story through a couple of primary sources before I would completely believe it. As we sometimes find out, the truth is stranger than fiction.

On September 12, 1862, two companies of the 33rd Indiana were dispatched from Cumberland Gap to Bishop Gap. Marching west through the Appalachian Mountains, some of the roughest country this side of the Rockies, the Indiana troops moved into the mountain pass arriving on the evening of the 12th. The Troops were ordered to block the pass to keep the Rebel troops from flanking the Cumberland Gap.

On 8 September 1862, Major J.P. McCown informed General Samuel Cooper in Richmond that the federals were attempting to flank the Confederate positions in front of the Cumberland Gap and cut their communications with Big Creek Gap.[1] To counter this, McCown ordered “every available man to that point and to Rogers Gap”[2]. This jumbled force of partisan rangers included several companies of the 69th North Carolina, also known as Thomas’s Legion, were ordered into Powell Valley between Jacksboro Tennessee and the Cumberland Gap.

The 69th was organized in the mountains of North Carolina. It was made up principally of white troops but it included 2 companies of Cherokee Indians. Its founder, William Holland Thomas was an advocate for the rights of the Cherokee people and the only white man to become the Chief of the Oconaluftee Indians. He remains the only white man to ever hold this high office.

On September 13, 1862, one of the Cherokee companies was crossing back to Powell Valley through Bishop Gap (located west of the Cumberland Gap). A company of the 33rd Indiana lay in ambush and opened fire at close range. After two days of skirmishing, on September 15, 1862, 1st Lt. William Terrell Ordered the Cherokee company to assault the Federal position. The first Confederate to be felled was none other than the grandson of the Cherokee Chief Junaluska. 2nd Lt. Astoogatogeh was well liked among his fellow Cherokee’s his death struck a chord in them. Instead of the death causing the attack to fall apart in disarray, it brought up a blood lust from the days of their ancestors. [3]

Before they could be stopped, the Cherokee attacked the Federals. In fierce hand-to-hand combat, the Cherokee’s routed the company from the 33rd Indiana. As the Union troops retreated, the Cherokee began to scalp the wounded. It is said the cries could be heard for many miles. If you think about it, the 33rd never had a chance once the Indians closed within 21 feet. This is what modern law enforcement calls the deadly force distance for a man with a knife. Within 21 feet, the attacker can stab you before you can react. The 33rd was up against the finest light infantry and skirmishers in the world. In hand-to-hand combat there were no equal to the Indian.

On returning to the headquarters of General Stevenson, the Confederate division commander before Cumberland Gap, they presented him the scalps. Stevenson took the scalps and even paid them a bounty for them. Once the transaction was finished, he is reportedly to have lectured them not to take scalps as” this was a Christian War!”. It is reported however the scalps were returned to the 33rd to be buried with their dead.

This would not be the last instance of the Cherokee of the 69th scalping federal troops.


Huptman, Laurence M. Between Two Fires: The American Indian in the Civil War. New York: Free Press Paperbacks, 1995.

McKnight, Brian D. Contested Borderland. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2006.

[1] Brian D. McKnight, Contested Borderland (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2006), 85.
[2] Brian D. McKnight, Contested Borderland (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2006), 85.
[3] Laurence M. Huptman, Between Two Fires: The American Indian in the Civil War (New York: Free Press Paperbacks, 1995), 113-114.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Three Years of Disappointment: How Lincoln failed the Army of the Potomac

Any student of the American Civil War will be well acquainted with the dismal record of the Army of the Potomac from 1861 to mid 1863. Throughout this time period, the army was beset by defeat and a constant stream of new lackluster and border line incompetent commanders. One has to question how the most powerful army the United States had yet fielded could be defeated at every turn by a force with half their strength and a quarter of their resources. While many focus on the ineptitude of the commanders, the blame for the failure falls squarely on Lincoln. After examination of various sources it appears the principal reason for the failure of the Army of the Potomac was President Lincoln’s poor choices for overall command.

At the outbreak of hostilities President Lincoln had as the head of the army General Winfield Scott, a man who was in his seventies and unfit to take the field for any extended period of time. Lincoln therefore was forced to rely on the recommendations of others to choose the field commander for the persecution of the war. The fallacy of this decision is derived from the type of man he chose to serve in the role of Commanding General in the field. While virtually all the senior officers in both armies had served in the War with Mexico, the men chosen by Lincoln to command the Army of the Potomac up through 1863 had virtually no experience actually leading troops in the field. When reviewing their service records one sees that McDowell, McClellan, Hooker, and Mead served in staff positions within General Zachery Taylors force but other than being on the field during a battle they had virtually no experienced actually leading men.[1] None of these officers served as company, regimental, brigade, or division officers in the regular army. Additionally, After the Mexican War, all of the initial commanders of the Army of the Potomac worked in engineering or teaching positions. They all had extensive experience with administrative and educational tasks but no troop leading experience. As the say – those who can’t, teach!!

Contrast this with both the command staff of the Army of Northern Virginia and the western Federal officers who would eventually win the war. In the Army of Northern Virginia, both Longstreet and Jackson served as line officers actually leading men in combat. In fact, Longstreet was wounded carrying the regimental colors up the ramparts of Chapultepec. Robert E. Lee E., although attached to Taylor’s staff, was in charge of positioning both troops and batteries prior to and during actions. As for the Federal officers, Grant, Sherman, and Thomas actually led troops in combat during the various actions of the Mexican War.

The reason this difference in experience becomes an issue is the men Lincoln chosen to lead the Army of the Potomac up until Grant have vast experience with logistics and organizing an army but little in fighting a battle. Some, such as Burnside and McClellan, actually had more experience running railroads than actually commanding troops in the field. The battlefield is a dynamic environment which requires the unit commander to be able to think on his feet and react to the changing situation. The most glaring example of the ability to organize well but being unable or unwilling to make battlefield decisions is George McClellan. While no one can deny the McClellan’s reorganization of the Army the Potomac was critical to its eventual success, his anxiety about the unknowns of committing troops to battle handicapped him[2]. Indeed, I would speculate that McClellan suffered from a mental disorder (but I will save that for another post)

There were several other factors that affected Lincoln’s choices for field command. One of the greatest mistakes Lincoln made with his field commanders, with the exception of George McClellan (who should have been fired within days due to his complete lack or respect for the Office of Commander and Chief), was his tendency to relieve them of command following a single engagement such as McDowell after first Bull Run, Burnside after Fredericksburg (although the army was in mutiny when he suggested trying to cross the Rappahannock again), and Hooker after Chancellorsville. The constant turnover in the command of the army destroyed any continuity. While brigade, division and corps commanders typically remained in their positions, the constant stream of new overall commanders did not allow for the development of any one central strategy. It should be noted however, many of these decisions were forced upon Lincoln by the political pressure being applied not only by Congress but by the State’s as well.

An additional problem that would plague Lincoln in the early part of the war was one of political appointees. Many field grade officers were forced upon Lincoln by State Governments. These appointees were not necessarily the most qualified for command. With these appointees often came the different vision of the purpose of the war. Many of the field grade officers in the army of the Potomac in the early part of the war had strong abolitionist ties. It was therefore important to them to captured territory and secure freedom for the slaves with the restoration of the union being a secondary goal.

There is possibly one additional fatal mistake made by Lincoln that is worthy of discussion. That mistake stems from taking a larger role in the daily operations of the army, and not clearly conveying his strategy for the persecution of the war to his field commanders. General Irvin McDowell’s march towards the Manassas Junction in July 1861 was against his better judgment.[3] In many conversations, he informed President Lincoln the Army of the Potomac was not ready to take the field. The troops were green, undisciplined, and unskilled. Once the army suffered catastrophic failure at first Bull Run, Lincoln began to scrutinize and micromanage the operations of the army. This level of intense scrutiny undoubtedly led to the trepidation of commander such as Hooker and Mead, and the disastrous dynamic action of Burnside at Fredericksburg. It is not until Grant takes over that Lincoln finds a General who shares his vision of the persecution of the war and is independent enough that Lincoln does not feel the need to apply the personal touch.

For the first three years of the war the Federal army in the east was beset with failure. While it is easy to point out the shortcomings of various field commanders, the real blame for the failure of the army ultimately lies with Lincoln. The poor choices made by Lincoln for overall field command haunted him until Grant came east. While it should be noted that Lincoln acted on the advice of others, he should have made sure the Officers were fully vetted and conducted a full review of their service records. For a General to be effective in the field he must have more than academic or staff credentials. He must be able to lead troops and adapt to the changing situation on the battlefield.

Detzer, David. DonnyBrook: The Battle of First Bull Run, 1861. Orlando: Harcourt, Inc, 2004.

Sears, Stephen W. WIth My Face To the Enemy: Perspectives on the Civil War. Edited by Robert Cowley. New York: The Birkley Publishing Group, 2001.

Unknown. "Mexican War Generals." Sons Of The South, 2003. (accessed July 30, 2010).

[1] Unknown, "Mexican War Generals," Sons of the South, 2003, (Accessed July 30, 2010).
[2] According to Sears, McClellan completely lost his nerve before the battle of Malvern Hill. He left the field and virtually abdicated the command of the army. He was 30 miles away checking on new fall back positions preparing to completely abandon the Peninsula. As cited in Stephen W. Sears, WIth My Face To the Enemy: Perspectives on the Civil War, ed. Robert Cowley (New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 2001), 124.
[3] David Detzer, DonnyBrook: The Battle of First Bull Run, 1861 (Orlando: Harcourt, Inc, 2004), 84-89.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Traitor in Lincoln's Cabinet

To call someone a traitor could quite possibly be the harshest charge ever to be leveled against a citizen of the state. The only thing that could be worse than the charge of treason is actually committing treason. In the spring of 1861, a member of Lincoln’s Cabinet committed just such an act. William Henry Seward, a rival of Lincoln’s in the 1860 election and then chosen by Lincoln the Secretary of state, pursued a course of action designed to undermine the authority of the presidency and cause the loss of United States property.

The day after Lincoln took office he was presented with a communiqué from Major Robert Anderson at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina advising the President of the dire supply situation and the reality that if not resupplied the fort would have to be abandoned. After receiving an assessment for General Winfield Scott that it would require four to six months, a large naval fleet, and up to 20,000 men to relieve Ft. Sumter, Lincoln convened his cabinet and asks for their opinion on whether Sumter should be supported. It should be noted here that Scott was heavily influenced by Seward who believe the United States should not go to war to save the union.

When Seward became aware that Lincoln had decided to relieve Fort Sumter he became incensed. Not only did he not believe this is the proper course of action but unknown to others he was concerned about the relief and what it would do to his personal honor. Seward had received several flattering letters from people of the south, Mr. Frederick Roberts of North Carolina particular. In these letters Seward was referred to as “the Hector or Atlas of not only his cabinet But the giant intellect of the whole north”. He was also told that “Unionists look to yourself and only you, Sir as a member of the cabinet to save the country” After being showered with praise by the enemy’s of his country, Seward began to believe that he and not Lincoln was in charge and it was only he who could save the country. This is a typical trick of those who are trying to convince someone to betray their country. This also gives us some insight to his personality and his ego.

When Lincoln refused to meet with emissaries of the Confederacy, Seward unbeknownst to Lincoln acted through Alabama’s John Campbell, who still served on the United States Supreme Court, to hold high level discussions with the Confederacy. Seward even went so far as to inform the Confederacy that Sumter “Would be evacuated within in the next five days” Once Lincoln had chosen to relieve Fort Sumter, Seward even attempted to interfere with the preparations for the relief mission. The delays in the Naval Warship component of the expedition resulted in failure of the mission.

Based upon the facts presented, one can come to no other conclusion but that Seward was engaging in traitorous activity against the Government of the United States. It was not only his ego which prompted him to consider himself, and not Lincoln, the true leader of the United States but his desperation to save his personal honor interfered with a military operation. A traitor is a man who puts personal gratification or personal glory in place of one’s duty to his country. Whether in time of war or time of peace there’s no one more despicable than traitor. Seward was lucky he able to hide his traitorous activities from the President. Had I been Lincoln and discovered Seward’s treachery, he would have faced a traitor’s fate. He would be found by his Confederate admirers hanging from the gallows.

Source Material-
Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006), 334-346.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Well, Here we go

Welcome Folks,

Thanks for visiting my little world. I am writing this blog as an outlet for the discussion and study of my favorite topic....... Military History !

What is this site about? Well, It would be easier to tell you what this blog is not. This is not an outlet for modern political views or discussions of current policy unless it is directly related to the period in question. It will include military and societal stories and discussions from around the world (although I am partial to American Stories)

As to the title of the Blog, well, it is a battle cry that has been heard around the world, across the centuries. The colors (or flags for you lay people out there) were not only a symbol of the nation they represented, but a polarizing force for men on the field of battle. In the simplest terms, the colors were used as guides which could be seen over the smoke that shrouded the field. But they were more than that. they were symbols of pride, they inspired troops who were faltering, they served as an extension of the unit itself. In both the English army and the American army, regiments carried two colors. One was the national color, the second was the regimental. This second color was usually provided to the Regiment by the state or a local patriotic group.

When the Cry "TO THE COLORS" was echoed across the field, all soldiers rallied to both protect, support, or follow them to glory.

so now I ask the Regiment ; are you willing to rally "TO THE COLORS"


More to come soon!