Colours and Drums

17th Century Jeromes Creek Map

Each company of a Civil War infantry regiment had its own flag - the "colour" or "ensign". Surviving evidence shows that while those of the various regiments differed quite widely, there was a common system of design. A typical (though far from universal) scheme was as follows:

17th Century Jeromes Creek Map

The senior "colonel's company" colour might be a plain field in a colour common to all the regiment's ensigns. The "lieutenant colonel's" was plain apart from a St.George's Cross in the upper hoist corner. The "sergeant-major's company" often had the same but with a wavy "pile" in a contrasting colour diagonally from the bottom right corner of the St.George's Cross. The ensigns of the "captains' companies" bore the St.George's Cross, plus from one to seven symbols -discs, diamonds, crosses, stars, etc. - in the contrasting colour, arranged in lines or block patterns, the number of symbols identifying the company. Different conventions adopted for the ensigns of the senior officers' companies make it difficult to identify any particular captain's colour with certainty unless the whole regimental scheme is known.

(Above) Battle of Roundway Down, SK: colours and drums of the Parliamentary force assembled during a parley.

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