Second Kansas Colored Infantry flag
The Second Kansas Colored Infantry carried this flag into battle. It was one of two African American regiments from Kansas during the Civil War.
Army regulations provided that the officers for African American regiments were to be white during the Civil War, and the commander of the Second Kansas Colored Infantry was future Kansas governor Colonel Samuel J. Crawford. The regiment served mainly in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Perhaps the most notable action was at Jenkins Ferry, Arkansas, on April 30, 1864. Days before this fight, the captured and wounded of the First Kansas Colored Infantry had been slaughtered by the Confederates at Poison Springs, Arkansas. At Jenkins Ferry, the Second Kansas made a successful but bloody charge against a Confederate battery. During the charge, the men of the Second could be heard exclaiming, "Remember Poison Springs!"
Just before the battle at Jenkins Ferry, Colonel Crawford was told by the commanding general that the Second Kansas Colored Infantry would not fight. It is said that Crawford, "in language much more emphatic than Christian, replied that they could and would go as far as it was possible for any others to go."
The Second Kansas Colored Infantry was mustered out on November 27, 1865. The report of the regiment indicated, "The discipline of the Second Kansas Colored Infantry was excellent, and at all times and under all circumstances the men of the regiment performed their duty well and faithfully--shrank from no danger, avoided no peril."
This flag is in the collections of the Kansas Museum of History. To view more Civil War flags in the collections, see the online exhibit Keep the Flag to the Front: Battle Flags of Kansas.
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At right is an image of the Second Kansas Colored Infantry flag before it received professional conservation treatment.
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Entry: Second Kansas Colored Infantry flag
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: March 2001
Date Modified: February 2016
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.