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Ol'Hickory
07-06-2006, 01:47 PM
In a lot of films like Gettysburg, G & G's, and also some doc's they show that when a standard bearer is down or when the flags dropped they throw down their muskets and pick it up.

Now, you'll be pleased to read I HAVE looked up on google and di not get an answer, thats why i'm asking the proffessionals:

Could any soldier bear his countries flag if the previous bearer was killed or wounded? AND could a unhurt man take his wounded comrade back to the lines IF the wounded could walk himself? becuase that sounds like the unhurt man is trying to get out of facing the enemy.

Cannon Fodder
07-06-2006, 02:58 PM
If the color bearer went down, another member of the color guard would grab the colors. If he wasn't to scared he probably would have lost his weapon, because the colors are a handful to handle.

About helping the wounded.... Only if you were given permission from your commander would you help a wounded man off the field. In general, the wounded were left to fend for themself until the Day was won. A good second Sgt. would take care of the cowards.

cblodg
07-06-2006, 03:04 PM
In a lot of films like Gettysburg, G & G's, and also some doc's they show that when a standard bearer is down or when the flags dropped they throw down their muskets and pick it up.

Now, you'll be pleased to read I HAVE looked up on google and di not get an answer, thats why i'm asking the proffessionals:

Could any soldier bear his countries flag if the previous bearer was killed or wounded? AND could a unhurt man take his wounded comrade back to the lines IF the wounded could walk himself? becuase that sounds like the unhurt man is trying to get out of facing the enemy.

I'm sure someone will correct me on this, but here goes.

The colors were gaurded by what was aptly called the Color Gaurd. Consisted of Sargents and Corporals, and it was their duty to protect the bearers and the colors in battle. The Colors were also left up to the company they fell in. The "color company" was the company for which both colors were entrusted. Because this was such usually those men were the ones to pick up the colors and carry on. Now, that doesn't mean that they were the ONLY ones, certainly anyone could do so.

A Quote from the 6th Reg. NH Vol. at Antietam about crossing Burnside's bridge:

"As the attacking party, led by Colonel Griffin, debouched from the field into the road, the rebels, from their intrenched position, redoubled the fury of their fire, sweeping the head of the column with merderous effect. Of the first hundred men to who passed through the opening in the fence, at least nine tenths were either killed or wounded." It is said that the charge on the lower bridge saw the death of some seven (correct if wrong) bearers shot in succession.

As to the latter; I'm sure that it happened. You have to remember that for many companies, these were men who knew each other, as many towns enlisted whole companies.

Hope this helps;

Chris

huntdaw
07-06-2006, 10:17 PM
No offense meant, but you have been a member of this forum for 6 days and have 69 posts to your credit. Many of the questions you have asked could be answered with some very basic research.

It's no skin off my nose if you want to post 60 questions a day but it seems like it would be better if you did the basic research yourself instead of posting every question that comes to mind here. You'll get a better balance of information also because you can easily get different answers to the same question by just throwing out a general question. Maybe a little more reading and less asking would be to your benefit.

I'm not trying to disuade you from using the forum and I certainly don't want to cool any enthusiasm you may have for the hobby. Just thought I'd throw my two cents in for what it's worth. I hope it's taken in the spirit it's intended but we'll see.

bill watson
07-07-2006, 07:52 AM
Missing from the discussion is the "why". This wasn't beau geste patriotism. The colors were a key part of regimental maneuver, and keeping them up was essential to keeping the regiment as organized as it could be when under fire. One of the paradigms of the warfare of the period was that, under most circumstances, you were safer as part of an effective, organized, functioning unit than you were in a mob. If you look like a mob, you attract cavalry with sabers to chop you down, or you clump up badly and attract artillery. Either way, you signal, without the flag, that you are in disarray and therefore vulnerable, and you're pretty much asking for more trouble than you already have, even in already terrible circumstances.
The flag gave structure to the regiment even when orders couldn't be heard and bugles and drums were sounding everywhere: You look for the flag and go where the flag goes. So the need to keep the flag up and visible was hammered home, and the message was learned. The men learned this, learned that keeping order was sometimes a survival key; the sacrifice some men made in picking up fallen colors was a sacrifice made for their comrades, and a sacrifice made in the name of a clearly seen duty. And those sacrifices in time gave added emotional weight to the colors themselves.
Wilderness, 1864; 2nd Corps advances on the Brock Road and runs into Longstreet. A green regiment breaks and runs to the rear and the Confederates lunge forward. Hancock comes up to find an old volunteer regiment moving back in reasonably good order, turning to fire and showing no sign of panic. He asks if this is a disaster, and a couple of the men -- rank and file -- tell him, with some disgust, that a green regiment ran and they are simply adjusting and will move back only as far as they have to to get things stabilized. Those guys understood the world they were in; those were the kinds of guys who would be picking up the colors if needed.