U.S. 35 Star US Infantry National Color.

Sub-collection: U.S. Military

U.S. 35 Star Infantry National Color, Double Ring Philadelphia Oval, 1863 - 1865.
This 35 Star silk flag is outstanding example of a "Philadelphia Oval" National Color as provided to the Philadelphia Clothing Depot (the Schuylkill Arsenal) under contract from 1863 to 1865 by contractors Horstmann Brothers & Co.; William F, Scheible and by former Horstmann employees Evans and Hassall, both of Philadelphia.

Although this flag bears no makers mark, inspectors stamp nor unit designation, it is consistent with flags issued after 1862. Philadelphia made and issued national colors were distinguished by a star pattern of concentric ellipses, accented by a center sate and four corner stars. This arrangement seems to have been a conscious attempt to mimic the new mounted troops Guidons authorized in January of 1862.

The American Civil War was the last large-scale conflict in which flags were used tactically on the battlefield. The position of the regiments' colors told the brigade, division and corps commanders where their troops were. They were also used to identify units, and were a common point of reference for the movements of the soldiers in the unit, enabling them to keep formation. The flag was also a symbol of the unit.

Each Civil War regiment had two flags; by military definition these were called the regimental colors--a national color and a regimental color. According to the Army Regulations: "Each regiment of Infantry shall have two silken colors. The first, or the national color, of stars and stripes, as described for the garrison flag; the number and name of the regiment to be embroidered with silver on the center stripe. The second or regimental color, to be blue, with the arms of the United States embroidered in silk on the center. The name of the regiment in a scroll, underneath the eagle. The size of each color to be 6"6' fly, and 6" deep on the pike. The length of the pike, including the spear and ferrule, to be 9"10'. The fringe yellow; cords and tassels, blue and white silk intermixed." After February 1862 also inscribed upon the colors of the regiment were the names of the battles in which the regiment "have borne a meritorious part."

To carry the flag was a high honor, to lose it was disgrace; the loss of the central point of reference could make the unit break up. In the infantry they were carried at the head of the regiment when on the march in column, or in the center of the line when arrayed for battle. To protect the flag, a detachment of soldiers was assigned to guard the flag; they were called the color guard.

In the artillery the national colors and the regimental color were generally kept in close proximity to the units headquarters. A fine example of an such artillery headquarters flag is ZFC0402; a National Color used at the headquarters of the chief of Artillery of the 4th Corps of the Army of the Cumberland from the H. Michael Madaus Collection.

ZFC Significant Flag

• Made in Philadelphia, PA 1863.
• Sold via Heritage Auctioneers & Galleries, Dallas Texas, to Zaricor Flag Collection, 2008.


Madaus, Howard M.- Whitney Smith, The American Flag: Two Centuries of Concord and Conflict, VZ Publications, Santa Cruz, 2006.

US Army Quartermaster General, Flags of the Army of the United States carried during the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865, to designate the headquarters of the different armies, army corps, divisions and brigades, Washington, D.C., 1887.

Todd, Frederick P., American Military Equipage 1851-1872, Volume 2, Providence, The Company of Military Historians, 1977.

Katcher, Phillip, Flags of the American Civil War, 2: Union, London, Osprey, 1993.

Madaus, Howard M., correspondence to Ben Zaricor, 29 March 2000, Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.

Image Credits:
Zaricor Flag Collection


Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 70
Length of Fly 76.125


Width of Union/Canton 38
Length of Union/Canton 27.125


Comments on Star Measurements Double ring (ellipse) with center and 4 corner accent stars.
Inner ring has 10 stars, outer ring has 20 stars
Size of Stars 2.5


Width of 1st Stripe 5.5
Width of 3rd Stripe 5.5
Width of 8th Stripe 5.5
Width of Last Stripe 5.5
Size of Hoist 2.75


Is it framed? no


Number of Stars 35
How are the stars embeded? Painted
Are there stars on obverse? yes
Are there stars on reverse? yes


Number of Stripes 13
Color of Top Stripe Red
Color of Bottom Stripe Red
Has a Blood Stripe? no
Comments on Stripes White stripes are fractured


Nation Represented United States


Fabric Silk


Stitching Hand


Type of Thread needs analysis
Thread Material needs analysis


Type of Weave Plain


Method of Attachment Sleeve


Applique Sides Single Faced = Mirror Image Reverse


All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
Research Documents
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
Public Copy & Signs
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.


Condition Fair
Damage Unused, dehydrated, with fracturing on the white stripes
Trending to good.
Displayable no


Date 1863-1865