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'Flags of the Civil War' on display

GETTYSBURG - "The Flags of the Civil War” will be on display at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center, 1195 Baltimore Pike 100, Gettysburg, from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 13 and 14. The display will include reproductions of the most common flags of the Army infantry, cavalry, and artillery units and the flags designating corps, division and brigade commanders.

Flags served practical purposes on the battlefield. They helped to control troops by indicating alignment and direction of movement; observing flags helped commanders follow the course of a battle, and they aided messengers in locating commanders.

The Battle of Gettysburg was the first time a new system of headquarters designating flags was used in battle. They indicated the location of corps, division and brigade commanders on the battlefield. Enlisted men carried the flags and followed the commanders so that messengers could easily locate the generals and deliver important dispatches.

The display will also include artifacts from the July 4, 1866, “Return of the Colors” ceremony when the Pennsylvania units returned their flags to the state in a ceremony at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Included among the relics are a souvenir flag carried by war orphans who marched in the parade (perhaps the only surviving example) and a bronze version of a gold medal presented to Maj. Gen. George Meade. The bronze medals were given to other officers who served in the Civil War.

The Gettysburg Foundation is a private, non-profit educational organization working in partnership with the National Park Service to enhance preservation and understanding of the heritage and lasting significance of Gettysburg. The Foundation raised funds for and now operates the Museum and Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Military Park, which opened in April 2008. In addition to operating the Museum and Visitor Center, the Foundation has a broad preservation mission that includes land, monument and artifact preservation and battlefield rehabilitation—all in support of the National Park Service’s goals at Gettysburg.

For information about the Gettysburg Foundation, about visiting Gettysburg, becoming a member, or how you can become a part of the history of Gettysburg through your contribution, visit or call 877-874-2478 or the administrative offices at 717-338-1243.