Battle Flag of the 24th Regiment, USCT (US Colored Troops)

During the Civil War, many military units had their own regimental flags they would carry into battle. The units in the United States’ Colored Troops developed their own “battle flags.” This is the flag for the USCT 24th Regiment, Pennsylvania.

This flag was designed by David Bustill Bowser, an African American artist from Philadelphia who also created several other designs for USCT banners. He also painted Lincoln and a famous portrait of John Brown.

The flag reads at the top, “Let Soldiers in War Be Citizens in Peace.” The regiment members were proclaiming that, just as they recognized their citizenship obligations by fighting for the Union; so too did they expect to receive the benefits of citizenship from the Union, such as black suffrage and other political and legal rights.

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