USCT Flag – First Kansas Colored Infantry (USCT 79th Regiment Infantry)

During the Civil War, many military units had their own regimental flags that they would carry into battle, and this was true of units in the United States’ Colored Troops. On the third day of the month, I’ll display a flag from each of those regiments – depending on my ability to find these flags through internet searches and other sources.


These ladies are holding a replica of the regimental flag for the First Kansas Colored Infantry. A larger image of the flag is here at the site for the Kansas Historical Society.
Source: Blackpast.org

The First Kansas Colored Infantry is one of the most historically significant regiments in the war, although it is less well known than the 54th Massachusetts (depicted in the movie Glory) or perhaps the Louisiana Native Guard/Corps D’Afrique.

At the start of the Civil War, the Union government did not use blacks as soldiers, for various legal and political reasons (see a discussion of these reasons here and here). But that wasn’t a show-stopper for the people of Kansas and its U.S. Senator, James Lane.

Kansas began the recruitment of blacks into the state militia force during the summer of 1862. Some of these black men were fugitive slaves from next-door Missouri (Lane and others are reported to have gone on slave raiding parties into that state); several hundred were from Kansas’s Indian Home Guard. Whatever the source, the result was the formation of the First Kansas Colored Infantry, the first African American regiment raised in the Northern states. Although the 1st Kansas was not formally accepted into the federal army until January 13, 1863, the First Kansas Colored was among the first African American regiments to see fighting.

The Kansas Historical Society notes that

Five months passed before the First was accepted into federal service, but this did not deter them from training or seeing action. On October 28, 1862, a detachment of 225 men faced 500 Confederates at Island Mound in Bates County, Missouri. Ten members of the First were killed and twelve wounded, but the Confederates were driven off.

The First distinguished itself throughout the Civil War. Most prominent were two battles in the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) in July 1863. At Cabin Creek on July 2, blacks fought alongside whites for the first time in turning back Confederate troops. Fifteen days later, on July 17, at Honey Springs, the First had perhaps its best day of the war, holding the federal center against attack. This action effectively ended any doubts west of the Mississippi about the abilities of black soldiers. Major General James Blunt would later remark, “I never saw such fighting as was done by that Negro regiment . . . . they make better soldiers in every respect than any troops I have ever had under my command.”

The worst day in the First’s Civil War record came on April 18, 1864, at Poison Springs, Arkansas, where 117 died and 65 were wounded. The death toll was aggravated by the Confederates’ execution of captured and wounded men left on the field. For black soldiers in the west, “Remember Poison Springs!” was a battle cry for the remainder of the war.

The preserved regimental flag of the First Kansas Colored Infantry documents the unit’s gallantry. Recorded on it are the battle honors of Island Mound, Cabin Creek, Honey Springs, and Poison Springs, as well as the battles of Sherwood, Prairie Deanne, Jenkins Ferry, and Camden.

The First Kansas Colored Infantry was organized into the USCT as the 79th Regiment Infantry (New), on December 13, 1864.

Several memorials have been erected in honor of the First Kansas, which underscores their importance:

First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Memorial in Bates County, Missouri

• Memorial at the Fort Scott National Cemetery, Kansas.

• Memorial to the First Kansas Colored on the Honey Springs Battlefield

• Memorial at the Cabin Creek Battlefield near Pensacola, Oklahoma.
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View all of the USCT flags on this cite to date by going here.

USCT Regimental Flag – 22nd United States Colored Infantry

During the Civil War, many military units had their own regimental flags that they carried into battle, and this was true of units in the United States’ Colored Troops (USCT). On the third day of the month, I’ll display a flag from each of those regiments – depending on my ability to find these flags through internet searches and other sources.


Source: Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-23096; see here for more information.

This is the regimental flag for the 22nd United States Colored Infantry (USCI) of the US Colored Troops. The motto at the top of the flag is “Sic semper tyrannis,” a Latin phrase meaning “thus always to tyrants,” and sometimes translated as “death to tyrants” or “down with the tyrant.”

The history of the 22nd is here, at The Second New Jersey Brigade.com site. As noted there,

Almost 2900 Black Jerseymen served as enlisted men in the ranks of United States Colored Troops (USCT) during the Civil War. Even though locally recruited, USCT regiments were Federal outfits. These men served in a number of regiments, most of which were raised at Philadelphia’s Camp William Penn.

The 22nd United States Colored Infantry (USCI) was organized at Camp William Penn in January 1864. With 681 Jerseymen on its rolls, it was the most “Jersey” of all USCT regiments.

The 22nd USCI fought in 1864-1865 at the battles at Petersburg and Richmond; was assigned to the XXV Corp, the only all Black army corps in United States history; participated in President Lincoln’s funeral procession after General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox; and patrolled the Rio Grande River in Texas to prevent foreign encroachment into the United States through Mexico.

The following are color images of the flag:


Front of the 22nd USCI flag
Source: The Second New Jersey Brigade.com/22nd United States Colored Infantry (USCI) page


Back of the 22nd USCI flag
Source: The Second New Jersey Brigade.com/22nd United States Colored Infantry (USCI) page

More details about the 22nd USCI are at the here at Civil War Archive.com.

The flag was designed by David Bustill Bowser, an African American artist who created several USCT flags.

View all of the USCT flags on this cite to date by going here.

26th Regiment USCT Flags

During the Civil War, many military units had their own regimental flags that they would carry into battle, and this was true of units in the United States’ Colored Troops. On the third day of the month, I’ll display a flag from each of those regiments – depending on my ability to find these flags through internet searches and other sources.

This is the regimental flag for the US Colored Troops 26th Regiment Infantry, New York. The motto at the base of the flag is “God and Liberty.” Source: New York State Military Museum.


These are the national colors for 26th Regiment. Source: New York State Military Museum.

According to the NYS Military Museum, this regiment was organized at Riker’s Island, New York on February 27, 1864. It served in the Department of the East to March, 1864; in the District of Beaufort, Department of the South, to April, 1865; at Port Royal, S. C., until it was honorably discharged and mustered out, August 28, 1865.

More details about the 26th USCT are at the here at Civil War Archive.com.

The homepage for the New York State Military Museum is here.

View all of the USCT flags on this cite to date by going here.

Battle Flag of the 84th Regiment, USCT (US Colored Troops)

During the Civil War, many military units had their own regimental flags that they would carry into battle. The units in the United States’ Colored Troops developed their own “battle flags.” On the third day of the month, I’ll display a flag from each of those regiments – depending on my ability to find these flags through internet searches and other sources.

This is the flag for the USCT 84th Regiment, Louisiana. According to The Civil War Archive,

84th Regiment Infantry:

Organized April 4, 1864, from 12th Corps de Afrique Infantry. Attached to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Corps de Afrique, Dept. of the Gulf, to February, 1865. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, United States Colored Troops, Dept. of the Gulf, to May, 1865. Northern District of Louisiana, Dept. of the Gulf, to March, 1866. (Note: Organized as 12th Corps de Afrique Infantry at Port Hudson, La., September 24, 1863. Attached to Garrison, Port Hudson, La., to December, 1863. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Corps de Afrique, Dept. of the Gulf, to April, 1864.)

SERVICE. (as 12th Regiment Infantry of the 12th Corps de Afrique Infantry, through April 1864)–Garrison duty at Port Hudson until April, 1864. Expedition to Grand Gulf February 15-March 6, 1864. Designation of Regiment changed to 84th United States Colored Troops April 4, 1864.

SERVICE.–Red River Campaign March 10-May 22. Advance from Franklin to Alexandria March 14-26. Retreat from Alexandria to Morganza May 13-20. Mansura May 16. Near Moreauville May 17. Yellow Bayou May 18. Duty at Morganza until May, 1865. Action near Morganza November 23, 1864. Duty in Northern District of Louisiana and Dept. of the Gulf to March, 1866. Mustered out March 14, 1866.

A discussion of Louisiana Colored Troops is here.

Organized at Port Hudson, La., September 24, 1863. Attached to Garrison, Port Hudson, La., to December, 1863. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Corps de Afrique, Dept. of the Gulf, to April, 1864.

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.