Lot 180    

2nd US Cavalry Regimental Colors, Ca 1884
2010, Historic Firearms and Early Militaria, April 28 & 29
52" x 39" yellow silk over cotton construction; with fringe border on three sides; made without cords or tassels. Oversized standard is hand painted (not embroidered) on both sides with motto, banner, and typical US martial eagle reversed en volant. All expertly executed, presumably, by an unidentified private contractor rather than being the product of an arsenal or military depot. The flag shows both hand and machine stitching utilizing silk/cotton thread in both earlier "S" weave and later "Z" weave pattern. This fine specimen generally conforms to the Regulations of 1887 described under "specifications for cavalry standards," adopted July 7, 1886 by the Quartermaster General’s office, but may, in our judgment, be slightly earlier.

Cavalry standards were largely symbolic and only occasionally uncased for parade, the ubiquitous swallowtail guidon actually being carried by mounted companies in the field. Parenthetically, regular cavalry regiments were not authorized National Colors until 1895.

The old 2nd Dragoons were first organized in May 1836 and saw their first combat during the Seminole War. In 1842 the regiment was briefly known as the Regiment of Riflemen, but reverted to its earlier title in 1844. As the Republic expanded rapidly westward the Dragoons led the way patrolling the Texas frontier and playing a prominent role in the War with Mexico and the early company-sized actions chasing marauding Indians. During the antebellum period the 2nd Dragoons interceded in "Bleeding Kansas" and helped put down a troublesome insurrection in Utah during the short-lived Mormon War.

With the advent of the Civil War the 2nd Dragoons were re-designated the 2nd US Cavalry in August 1861 and rode continuously in the numerous battles and campaigns undertaken by the Army of the Potomac, including a battle honor for Gettysburg. The 2nd Cavalry is synonymous with the 19th century Indian Wars — the sharp edge of Manifest Destiny — having involvement in the Fetterman Massacre (1866), the Kidder Massacre (1867), the Baker Massacre (1870), as well as the battle of Powder River (1876) and the Rosebud campaign (1876) to name but a prominent few.

During the Spanish-American War the 2nd Cavalry shipped to Cuba and saw action at El Canay and San Juan Hill brigaded with Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders. Following pacification duty the regiment deployed across the Pacific to the far edge of America's new empire for two tours of duty in the Philippines lasting through 1912. The 2nd cavalry was selected for duty in France with the AEF, several troops participating in what became the last engagement as mounted horse cavalry in the twilight of an era. The regiment was mechanized for World War Two, landing in France and serving as a forward reconnaissance outfit in Patton’s Third Army. Throughout the Cold War, Desert Storm, and 1990s-era peacekeeping operations the linear descendant of the 2nd Cavalry remained at the forefront of the army’s spearhead. Today, the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment (2SCR), as it is now known, "has the distinction of being the longest continuously serving Regiment in the United States Army." Elements of 2SCR have deployed to operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan adding battle honors to a modern day yellow regimental standard little changed from this hallowed 19th century predecessor.

Several large areas of paint loss on the yellow background throughout. Paint loss on both of the upper lines of the eagle's wings. 11" tear in the silk in the left upper outline of the red banner above "E. Pluribus". Other small tears inside the red paint in the word "Regiment," "U.S." and immediately following the word "Regiment." Small tear in between the eagle's eye and beak as well as in the interior of the eagle's shield. Standard has horizontal and vertical fold lines.
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