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Thread: Hospital Flags

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Arlington, Virginia
    Posts
    378

    Default Hospital Flags

    Michael Schaffner (aka Schnapps) posted a document elsewhere on the internet - "Statement showing the number of principal articles of clothing and equipage purchases at the depots of Philadelphia, New York, and Cincinnati since May, 1861" - found in the Official Correspondence. The copy that I printed off finally surfaced from the morass that is my desk so I can offer the following additional information on hospital flags.

    The statement indicated that there were two kinds of hospital flags as well as ambulance flags. The line entries for each indicated the following:

    General Hospital flags: 262 were purchased at Philadelphia; 101 at New York; and 200 at Cincinnati; for a wartime total of 562.

    Post and field hospital flags: 698 were purchased at Philadelphia; 201 at New York; and none at Cincinnati; for a wartime total of 899.

    A separate line entry for Ambulance flags indicated the following:

    2,500 were purchased at Philadelphia; 401 at New York; and 1,750 at Cincinnati; for a wartime total of 4,651.

    Now separately, I found in my copy (reprinted) of "Civil War Battle Flags of the Union Army and Order of Battle" originally published as 'Flags of the United States Army carried during the War of the Rebellion, 1861 and 1863", on page 40, the images of all three types of flag. They all feature the yellow field but otherwise have some differences in size and other design features.

    The General Hospital Flag is 9 feet by about 4 and 1/2 feet (along the fly/staff edge). Centered on the yellow field is a large green H, about 2 feet high and about 18 inches at the base and the top.

    The Post and Field Hospital flag is identical in appearance, but is about 6 feet 4 inches long and about 3 feet 8 inches along the staff and opposite edge. The green H is about 13 inches across and 1 foot 6 inches high.

    The Ambulance flag and the guidon used to mark the way to the hospital(s) is yellow, about 30 inches long and about 15 inches along the staff - edged with a 1 inch green band on the three sides.

    It is noted that these patterns date from January 1864. There is no information given regarding the patterns used before this date.

    Robert A. Mosher

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    North East Texas
    Posts
    16

    Default WOW! so much over flags

    The research I have done, shows yellow flags with out a design or a red flag with out a design until about January 4th, 1864 when general order #9 provided: Hospitals will be distinguished by yellow flags with a green "H" in their centers, larger for General Hospitals, smaller for Field Hospitals and a smaller yellow flag bordered with green for ambulances. Prior to the January 4th 1864 order were orders of March 24 1862 General order #102 "hospitals will distinguished by a yellow flag" June 19, 1863 saw General order # 53 repeated General order # 102 of 1862. December 19, 1862 had General order # 91 which set the sizes of the hospital and ambulance depots, distinguished by a yellow flag, 3 feet square for the hospitals and the principle ambulance depot on the field of battle; 2 feet square for the lesser ones". This same order was repeated on April 25, 1863.

    The above, so far is all I have found on the Internet. I am still looking and asking other reenactors who know more than me. So have we come to a conclusion? Yellow until 1864 then yellow with the green H? Even the confederates followed what the Federals did. As for women on the field of battle, they were discouraged but how does anyone keep a woman from doing something she wants to do? I bet women of the 1860's were the same as today. Just my opinion.

    1863doc
    gee ain't this fun?
    "1863DOC" Garnett

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    49

    Default

    Gettysburg Museum holds an Ambulance Guidon of the 1st Division, 2nd Corps. It is 26 1/2" wide x 13 1/4 " high. Yellow wool bunting field with a 1 " wide green border on three sides. The green-coloured hoist in 1 3/8 " wide. The yellow field is composed of 2 horizontal panels appox. 6 " wide with a central seam. There is a 4 5/8" high x 4 3/4" wide faded red trefoil in the center.

    http://www.thefieldhospital.com/SM_amb_flag_get01.jpg

    Winslow Homer depicts an ambulance flag in a Harper's Weekly.

    http://www.thefieldhospital.com/Coolidge_WHomer01.jpg





    John Novicki
    The Field Hospital
    Last edited by verg; 02-03-2007 at 10:38 PM.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Posts
    183

    Default

    The Museum of the Confederacy has at least four hospital flags, all a simple red field. They vary slightly in size and were captured at the Battle of Waynesboro in March 1865. One of these can be seen in Echos of Glory page 276, which is 39"x 55" in size.

    I just bought a red field hospital flag from Ben Tart. He did a great job! It is made of red bunting and is made of three pieces of bunting just like the original at the Museum of the Confederacy.

    Other than the Museum of the Confederacy, are there any other sources for original flags upon which to base reproductions?
    Harry Aycock

    Medical Director Bee's Brigade - 150th First Manassas
    Medical Director Evans' Brigade - 150th Leesburg
    Medical Director Valley District - 150th McDowell
    Chief Surgeon of Division - 150th Seven Pines/Seven Days
    Chief Surgeon of Division - 150th Sharpsburg
    Chief Surgeon Heth's Division - 150th Gettysburg

    Chief Surgeon
    Southern Division

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Somewhere between 1607 and 1864
    Posts
    427

    Default

    Historical background for Yellow Flag:

    The use of the color yellow in a hospital flag has it's origins in the middle ages. Yellow was the color used to distinguish houses which had be infected with the plague and indeed a yellow cross would be painted on the houses and the inhabitants would be forced to wear yellow clothing. This may have been derived from 'yellow fever', but who knows.

    In the 14th Century, Venice decreed that all ships waiting to off load goods needed to be anchored off it's coast for 40 days and fly a yellow quarantine flag.

    In 1789, British naval code demanded that any ship that was quarantined needed to fly a yellow flag to worn other ships. This is the first time the "Yellow Jack" is officially used in a military setting.

    Use of Yellow Flag as Quarantine Flag in the American Civil War:

    An Illinois soldier on his way through Atlanta just before the March to the Sea noted that several houses flew a yellow quarantine flag. He approached one house and the servant claimed the house was full of pox and they shouldn't come inside. This didn't have any effect, the soldier told them he wanted pox and invaded the house anyway and took the goodies he was after.
    Christopher J. Daley

    tailor@cjdaley.com
    www.cjdaley.com

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    224

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cjdaley
    Historical background for Yellow Flag:

    The use of the color yellow in a hospital flag has it's origins in the middle ages. Yellow was the color used to distinguish houses which had be infected with the plague and indeed a yellow cross would be painted on the houses and the inhabitants would be forced to wear yellow clothing. This may have been derived from 'yellow fever', but who knows.

    In the 14th Century, Venice decreed that all ships waiting to off load goods needed to be anchored off it's coast for 40 days and fly a yellow quarantine flag.

    In 1789, British naval code demanded that any ship that was quarantined needed to fly a yellow flag to worn other ships. This is the first time the "Yellow Jack" is officially used in a military setting.

    Use of Yellow Flag as Quarantine Flag in the American Civil War:

    An Illinois soldier on his way through Atlanta just before the March to the Sea noted that several houses flew a yellow quarantine flag. He approached one house and the servant claimed the house was full of pox and they shouldn't come inside. This didn't have any effect, the soldier told them he wanted pox and invaded the house anyway and took the goodies he was after.

    In addition the Navy would fly the yellow flag from ships which had a yellow fever outbreak on board.

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