1861 : Berrien County Volunteers Presented A Magnificent Flag

May 4, 2022 all-day

In the little country village of Niles, a thousand people crowded the main four corners on May 4, 1861 to see a magnificent flag presented to the Berrien County Volunteers. The 88 infantry volunteers, somestimes called roughnecks or mudsills, carried the flag with them on the Michigan Central Railroad on their way to Detroit. There it was adopted as the regimental flag of the Second Michigan Infantry, and the Volunteers became Company E, the color company of that regiment. The flag was carried proudly at the Battles of Blackburn’s Ford, First Bull Run, the Yorktown siege, Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Malvern Hill, Second Bull Run, Chantilly and Fredericksburg. At that point it was returned to the ladies of Niles since with forty bullet holes in it, it was too tattered for further use. By then 11 of the original 88 volunteered were dead.

Source : Twice Told Tales of Michigan and Her Soldiers in the Civil War, Michigan Civil War Centennial Observance Commission, 1966, pp. 5-7.

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