- ABOUT THE REGIMENT:
- the second Irish regiment to form in Chicago during the Civil War
- 7 out of 10 officers and men were born in Ireland
- the colonel was Tipperary-born Timothy O'Meara
- the regiment left for the field in November 1862
- the regiment mustered out in Washington DC on June 6, 1865
- fewer than 230 were present and able to return to Chicago at the end of the war
The 90th Illinois's regimental flag is one of the most beautiful of the Civil War. It had a difficult history, however, as related here.
The green silk flag of the Ninetieth Illinois is preserved in the Illinois National Guard Armory in Springfield, Illinois. The flag that is preserved there, however, was not carried by the regiment during its wartime service.
The first regimental flag was lost when the color bearer was captured during the Battle of Atlanta. He was taken to Andersonville, but, although he lost 90 pounds there, he did not lose the flag. After being paroled toward the end of the war, he brought it back to Illinois with him. Apparently it may have been cut up for souvenirs when the regiment returned home.
The second regimental flag was ordered while the regiment was still in Georgia, but because the Legion went on the marches to the sea and through the Carolinas, the flag only caught up with it in North Carolina. It accompanied the regiment during the Grand Review.
Upon orders from the Illinois Adjutant General, the second flag was turned over for preservation by the State. Later it was loaned to the regiment for a special regimental event and while in their keeping was burned in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The State required a replacement, which was purchased by the regiment and returned to Springfield. That is the flag pictured here.