Now On View
Visit the Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda to view these flags now on display...
Co. I, 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment - National Flag
In May 1861, the ladies of Lake City and Wabasha, Minnesota presented this flag to Company I. Early in the war, infantry companies often carried both their own and their regiment's flags. Confusion on the battlefield soon brought this practice to an end.
The design in the canton differs from national colors carried by other Minnesota units. In addition to the customary stars, this canton features a federal eagle holding a ribbon in its beak reading, "May God Protect the Right." Carried in the Battle of Bull Run by Sergeant Richard Gorman, this flag was cut from its staff during the regiment's retreat. Sergeant Gorman hid the flag in his blouse to protect it from being captured. After the regiment's national flag was damaged at that battle and sent back to St. Paul, this company flag probably served as the regiment's color until it, too, was retired for display in the State Capitol on November 30, 1861.
Sergeant Gorman was the son of the regiment's colonel and former territorial governor, Willis Gorman.
Severe fading has left the red stripes virtually lightened to an off-white, which is possibly due to both visible and ultraviolet light exposure and an unstable dye.
4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment - Regimental Flag
This flag, with a federal eagle on its front and the Minnesota state seal on its reverse, was carried by the Fourth Minnesota in the spring of 1862. It was made by Horstmann Brothers, a Philadelphia military goods supplier.
The 4th Minnesota was formed in the fall of 1861. Following brief frontier duty in Minnesota, the regiment was engaged in the strategically important Mississippi battles of Iuka (September 1862), Corinth (October 1862), and Vicksburg (July 1863). It later participated in the Battle of Chattanooga (November 1863), Sherman's "March to the Sea," and the drive northward into the Carolinas (November 1864-March 1865).
The encapsulating silk crepeline added during the restoration of the flag in the 1960s was painted by Thomas Welter, the flag restorer, to visually fill in this area of loss in the state seal.
11th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment - National Flag
The layout of its 35 gold-leaf stars marks this as a flag issued by the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot, a commercial manufacturer of military equipment. By the middle of the war, colors were produced by vendors and ordered through the U.S. Army Quartermaster Department - the distributor of military goods and supplies for the Union armies.
Organized in 1864, the 11th Minnesota was the last infantry regiment mustered in Minnesota as the Civil War drew to a close. It served on guard, picket, and patrol duty on the Louisville to Nashville rail line. Its mission was to protect the line from Confederate guerrilla bands so that troops and supplies for the Union army could pass unimpeded.
The bleeding of the red dye prominently seen between the third and fourth stripe from the top is believed to have occurred when the flag was rolled up when wet.
12th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment - Regimental Flag
Unlike the designs on older Civil War flags, many of which were painted, the state seal on this Spanish-American War flag is hand-embroidered and appliquéd - making it an extraordinary work of art uncommon in most military flags from the state.
The 12th Minnesota was organized in May 1898 - one of four state units that served in the Spanish-American War. The regiment, made up largely of recruits from southern Minnesota, moved to Camp Thomas at Chickamauga National Park, Georgia for training. Less-than-adequate living conditions resulted in an outbreak of typhoid fever. The regiment moved to Camp Hamilton in Lexington, Kentucky, where it remained until September 1898 when the Spanish-American War ended.
While serving as the regiment's quartermaster, John Lind announced his intention to run for governor in 1898. He was elected the state's 14th governor, and was the only Spanish-American War veteran to hold that office.