15th Maine Infantry Flag

Organized at Augusta in December 1861 and mustered in January 1862, Col John McClusky's 15th Maine Infantry Regiment had a significant Irish presence in Cos F and I. The 15th Maine did duty on the Gulf coast, and served in the unsuccessful Red River campaign in the spring of 1864. The regiment had no known Irish distinctions of dress; it received US regulation infantry frock coats and kepis, and probably the dark blue pains favored by Maine regiments. The 15th Maine carried Enfield rifles.

Although not an Irish regiment per se, the 15th Maine carried a flag with a shamrock and harp on one side and the arms and motto of the state on the other. This flag actually figured in an early legal case of flag-related misconduct, when Col McClusky was court-martialed for conduct unbecoming an officer. Charged with tossing the regimental flag into the ocean while he was intoxicated, McClusky told the court that some of the 15th Maine's non-Irish soldiers had raised objections about fighting tinder an Irish flag, and that he had thrown it into the sea so that it would not be "dishonored, nor will it be a subject for dissension or dispute." Ruling that the flag was not an "official" regimental color, the court accepted McClusky's explanation and found him not guilty.

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