U.S. Regimental color of the 1st Washington Volunteer Infantry
This is the regimental color of the 1st Washington Volunteer Infantry, during the period of the Spanish-American and Philippine-American wars. These regimental colors and a 45-star US national standard accompanied the regiment during their entire period of service. During the 19th century the infantry regiments of the United States Army carried blue colors bearing the stylized arms of the United States. Colorful and hand-painted, depicting the American bald eagle realistically, these flags are works of art. This flag's design complies with the specifications promulgated in 1885 for the regimental colors of US Infantry. The model 1885 Infantry colors would be the last of the large 6x 66 colors that had been carried by the US infantry since 1833. After 1904 the size of the flag was reduced to 44 x 56, and the design of the American bald eagle was changed.
The 1st Washington Volunteers were formed from the nucleus of the Washington National Guard. But in 1889, the term 'National Guard' meant state militia, and did not have the same meaning as the designation does today. The Militia Act of 1903 established the creation of the National Guard of the United States as the principal reserve force for the U.S. armed forces.
The regiment was organized May 1st, 1898, to fill the State of Washington's troop quota for the Spanish-American War. Carrying this color, they were sent to the Philippines, but arrived after the combat of the Spanish American War had ended. The 1,126 Washington volunteers were then sent to garrison in Manila.
In February 1899, fighting erupted between the U.S. troops and Philippine guerillas and America's first war in Asia started. As part of the Philippine capital's garrison, they held a line that separated the city from Filipino insurgents led by the Philippine hero, General Emilio Aguinaldo. The 1st Washington played a very active role in the Philippine-American War, battling for over six months in and around metropolitan Manila. They were on the front lines for over 200 days, until ordered home. They mustered out at the Presidio of San Francisco, on 1 November 1899.
The 1st Washington were initially commanded by Col. John A. Wholly, but after his promotion and subsequent departure, Lt. Colonel William Fife was promoted to command of the regiment as they waited to be disbanded. Col. Fife had been the head of the Washington National Guard, but was searching for gold in Alaska in 1898 when the call came to establish the regiment and he thus returned to become the Executive Officer.
Col. Fife, a widower, would remarry Mrs. Mary Duboce, the widow of Colonel Victor Duboce, late of the 1st California Infantry. Mrs. Duboce donated two flags to San Francisco's acclaimed de Young Museum; a Philippine flag (ZFC0206) and a Spanish flag (ZFC0218) which were brought back from his service in the Philippines. Both of these flags were later acquired by the Zaricor Flag Collection.
This regimental color was formerly in the Crow Art Partnership Collection , who acquired the 1st Washington Color (numbered 188.8.131.52) from Richard H. Keller of Great War Militaria of Chambersburg, PA. As Mr. Keller had forwarded all history and provenance to the Crow Art Partnership in 1984, he could not recollect any additional information about this piece.
Heritage Auction Sales Summer 2007 Copy
• U.S Infantry Regimental Flag - 1st Washington Infantry U.S. Volunteers, carried during the Spanish American War, 1898
• Acquired by Richard H. Keller who sold it to the Crow Art Partnership Collection on 12/03/84
• Acquired at auction from the Crow Art Partnership Collection, Dallas, Texas, via Heritage Auction Inc., at the 24 June 2007, Civil War Grand Format Auction, in Gettysburg, PA.
ZFC Significant Flag
Item is Framed