“Rally on the colors, boys!” A battle cry heard countless times on every Civil War battlefield. Flags, also known as colors, were carried by every regiment, both Union and Confederate. The colors served to identify the unit. It was a high honor requiring great courage to hold them high and lead the regiment into battle, but the colors were also the regiment”s most prized possession and were defended at all cost. To lose them in battle was unthinkable, a disgrace not only to the regiment, but to the home state it represented. It was likewise a great and honorable achievement to capture the colors of the enemy, and numerous Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded during the Civil War for such valorous deeds.
The men of the Fourteenth Connecticut carried two regimental flags into battle, both about four feet square in size. The first was based on the national flag, the familiar “Stars and Stripes,” bordered all around with a gold fringe. An embroidered eagle with wings spread stood atop a red, white, and blue shield, surrounded by gold stars representing each the states, Union as well as Confederate. “14th REGT CONN. VOLS.” was stitched in gold across the center red stripe. The photo at right is of a printed reproduction.
The second flag was based on the state flag of Connecticut. The flag was dark blue, again fringed with gold all around. In the center of the flag was a white shield bordered in gold with three grapevines embroidered upon it, two above center and one below. Atop the shield was a beautifully embroidered eagle with its wings spread wide. Under the shield was an embroidered golden banner with stitched lettering which read “14th REGIMENT C.V.”
This flag in this photo is actually that the Eleventh Connecticut. The Fourteenth’s state colors would have been very similar.