U.S. Infantry Regimental Color, 69th NY Infantry, "Irish Brigade"
This color was specifically embroidered for the renowned 69th New York Infantry, which was attached to the 42nd Rainbow Division. Many Irish-Americans and other New Yorkers served in the 69th after deployment to France in 1918, where they engaged the Germans in heavy combat.
The First World War had seen the 69th volunteer militia renamed the 69th New York Regiment. All National Guard regiments were reassigned "100 series" regimental numbers, so that the 69th was renamed the 165th Infantry Regiment. The regiment retained its strong Irish identity and the Secretary of War allowed these fighting Irish to carry their old colors while in Europe.
Three soldiers of the 69th were awarded the Medal of Honor, including its famed commander, William Joseph Donovan. Francis Duffy, "The Fighting Chaplain," was another exceptional soldier. During heavy fighting in the Argonne, the regiment was on the verge of being overrun. Donovan offered the chaplain grenades, but Duffy refused, continuing to give last rites to the dying and aiding the wounded. Joyce Kilmer, a poet, was killed in the Chateau-Thierry salient while fighting under these colors.
The legacy of these patriots would see Father Duffy's statute erected at the north end of Times Square, or "Duffy Square". Also, the Second World War's Camp Kilmer was named after that warrior-poet. Furthermore, William Joseph Donovan went on to organize the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), precursor to the CIA. In popular culture, "The Fighting 69th," was a 1940 film starring James Cagney, who plays a "Great War" recruit from Brooklyn, who overcomes his initial cowardice to become a battlefield hero.
Throughout the nineteenth century, the United States Army had continued to carry a blue flag bearing the coat-of-arms of the United States at the center of each of its regiments of infantry. During the nineteenth century, the design of the eagle in the U.S. coat-of-arms was an informal and realistic flying eagle. However, in 1903, the Army adopted a new form for the eagle in the coat-of-arms. Instead of the flying eagle, the new pattern adopted the rigid European heraldic eagle design that continues to serve on the coat-of-arms today. During the nineteenth century, the U.S. Quartermaster's Department had great difficulty employing enough embroiderers to work the coat-of-arms on its flags. Thus, oil-painted renditions of the arms were often provided as substitutes. When the Army entered the twentieth century, the regulations for embroidered flags were more strictly enforced.
ZFC Significant Flag
Item is Framed
• 69th U.S. Infantry - 1904 until end of WWI.
• Gifted by the 69th New York Infantry to Hon. Newton D. Baker. Secretary of War in gratitude for allowing them to carry the flag to Europe during their WWI service.
• By descent in the Baker Family.
• Acquired by Dennis Lowe.
• Acquired by Phillip Barron Ennis.
• Acquired by John Bracken of the New Market Battlefield Military Museum
• Acquired by Stephen A. Tucker in 1996.
• Sold via Jackson Armory, Dallas, TX to Zaricor Flag Collection in 2005.