Updated: Feb 14, 2022
Save the Flags is Michigan's project to preserve, research and display 240 battle flags carried by Michigan soldiers in the Civil War, Spanish-American War and World War I.
Every year the unit commanders of the North-South Skirmish Associations Northwest Territory (NWT) select a historically-based project and donate $1,000 to that cause. Past donations have gone to organizations like the Gettysburg Foundation, Civil War Trust and Detroit's Historic Fort Wayne where many Michigan regiments were mustered into service. In 2017, the NWT selected the State of Michigan's Save the Flags Project and has again in 2018. Based on unit seniority, NWT commanders selected a flag of the 24th Michigan Infantry for adoption.
Those adopting flags are honored in a special ceremony. The unit joined the N-SSA in 1957 as the Michigan Light Artillery Volunteers (#032). In 1962, the present name was changed to the 24th Michigan Volunteer Infantry. The State Director of the Save the Flags Project, Matt Van Acker, attended the regional skirmish at Laingsburg, Michigan on July 29, 2018. The members of the 24th were given a photograph of the adopted battle flag and a Legislative Tribute signed by the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. The heavily damaged national color carried at Gettysburg is the most adopted flag in the states collection. However, the flag adopted by the NWT is famous for being the color carried by the regiment as it served as honor guard at the funeral of President Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois.
The NWT will also be added once again to a Roll of Honor plaque displayed in the flag exhibit area at the Michigan Historical Center at the capitol complex in Lansing. Save the Flags is Michigan's project to preserve, research and display 240 battle flags carried by Michigan soldiers in the Civil War, Spanish-American War and World War I.
One of the projects great successes has been its adoption program. For a donation of $1,000 individuals, families, organizations, schools and communities help with the preservation, research and display of the flags by adopting flags in the collection. To date, over 150 flags, mostly from the Civil War, have been adopted, providing the project with much needed funds. Adoptions also help preserve history by commemorating particular regiments and individuals. Adoptions are often made in the name of the original regiment which carried that flag into battle or adopted in the name of a veteran by his descendants.