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Keep the Flag to the Front - Introduction

First Kansas Colored Infantry flag

Battle Flags of Kansas

"Within an hour after the battle began, Rovohl was mortally wounded. When he fell his comrades indulged in fierce dispute as to which of them was entitled to carry the flag. . . . Two of them proposed carrying Rovohl to the surgeons in the rear, but he refused all help saying,
'My life is nothing--Keep the flag to the front.'"

Flags are strong symbols. They stir the soul, leading to feats of courage and sacrifice. They stand for unity in times of tragedy.

During the American Civil War (1861-1865), flags took on significant roles. They rallied soldiers on the battlefield. Sometimes they were links to people left at home. They were symbols to be protected, symbols to raise the morale of those who fought behind them.

Keep the Flag to the Front: Battle Flags of Kansas is an online exhibit developed by the Kansas Museum of History.

This tour is divided into eight sections. Click on the first link below to embark on your exhibit tour, or visit them in any order.

  1. The Civil War, 1861-1865
  2. Rally 'Round the Flag
  3. Stories From the Front Lines
  4. The "Colored" Soldiers
  5. On the Border
  6. Chickamauga
  7. The Confederacy
  8. Save the Flags!
  9. Glossary and Explanation of Flag Types