Regimental Color

2nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

By unknown maker, 1861

Silk, pigment, 39 x 51 in.

Gift of friends and relatives of Rufus Choate to the regiment July 1, 1861.
Returned by the regiment to the Commonwealth December, 22, 1865.

Two of the flags of the Second Regiment were gifts to the unit. 2nd Lt. Rufus Choate was the son of a prominent Boston lawyer and statesman. The front side, which was obscured during an early conservation effort, shows the Massachusetts coat of arms. The reverse, seen here, depicts the pine tree side of the coat of arms. It bears the name of the regiment and the motto, "We carry the flag and keep step to the music of the Union."

Flags other than those issued by the state were often fabricated of colors different from the official design (which in this case would have been white), and were called "presentation" flags. Because of the strong local connections they symbolized, these flags were often carried in addition to the official national and state colors. The 2nd Irish, also in this display, is another fine example of a presentation color.

flag of Regimental Color