Late in the afternoon of September 5, 1862, the 119th New York Volunteers assembled outside regimental surgeon Dr. Charles Brueninghausen’s residene in New York ity and reeived a stand of olors inluding the Regimental olor seen here. Made by Ball, Blak & ompany of New York ity, the embroidered olor features the State Arms and the insription, “5th SENATORIAL DISTRIT,” for the unit’s politial home territory.
This flag aompanied the unit to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where, on July 1, 1863, the 119th New York Volunteers and other regiments from Brigadier General Wlademir Krzyzanowski’s brigade attempted to hold off the onfederate advane near Bloher’s Knoll. Outnumbered, the 119th New York Volunteers reportedly lost 100 men in 15 minutes, inluding two olor bearers killed in ation. The 13th Georgia Infantry aptured the Regimental olor .
The 13th Georgia retained the flag until the late 19th entury when surviving onfederate veterans offered the flag to Benjamin Willis, a veteran who served with the 119th New York Volunteers at Gettysburg. Willis reeived the flag from the Georgia veterans, and in 1967, Willis’s daughter, Porta Willis Fitzgerald, turned the flag over to state authorities.
Shortly after this flag joined the state’s olletion, state offiials sent the flag to Fort Montgomery, New York, for restoration. The restorer removed the fringe, mahine-stithed the flag between two layers of nylon net, and then reattahed the fringe. In addition, the restorer applied paint to the faded embroidered female figures in the Arms of the State of New York and added olored fabri behind the flag to mask the losses. The dye of this fabri was not olor fast and shifted over time to a purple olor. Muh of the flag’s original blue silk remains and is easily disernible from the now-purple ompensation fabri.
Although not a reommended treatment by today’s standards beause the stithing reates too many holes in the flag, the netting applied in 1967 did prevent additional losses. Also, the paint applied in 1967 to the female figures obsures the original embroidery yarns and is not an aeptable treatment today for dye loss. In early 2013, State Parks textile onservators gently vauumed the flag with low sution to remove harmful partiulate soils, and they humidified the flag with a ontrolled amount of humidity to redue rippling. The onservators did not remove the netting treatment and the now-purple fabri beause the many rows of stithing used to apply the net reated additional breaks and weakened the original silk fabri.(1995.3532)
See the 119th Infantry Regiment History Pagefor more information about the unit.New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History