18 February 2010

Lilly's Flag

On Culp’s Hill you will find a monument to the 149th New York Infantry. They were formed in Onondaga County, NY and were part of the 12th Corps. The monument is located on Slocum Ave. On it you will see a Relief, picturing a Color Bearer repairing the Regiment flag while under fire. This Color Bearer is William C Lilly.

William C Lilly was a 33 year old switchman from Syracuse NY when he enlisted 21 Aug 1862. Just before Gettysburg Lilly was promoted from Corporal to Sergeant. As part of General George Sears Greene’s Brigade the 149th held Culp’s Hill through the night on 2 Jul 1863 and the morning of the 3rd. It was on the morning of the 3Jul1863 while under attack from Major General Edward Johnson’s Division that the flag of the 149th received over 80 hits, including two which broke the staff. As the battle raged around him Lilly retrieved the flag and mended the staff of the flag using a splint made from a cracker box and the leather straps off a knapsack.

The flag is now located in the County Clerk’s Office in Onondaga County NY. The 147 year old fix still holding [I have been unable to confirm this]. Sergeant William Lilly died of wounds received at Wauhatchie TN 1Nov1863. He was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross by the State of New York 2May 1999.

My thanks to the following sources

Raus, Edmund J Jr, “A Generation On The March; The Union Army at Gettysburg”, [Gettysburg, PA, Thomas Pub, 1996], pg 86-7

The 149th New York State Volunteer Infantry

The 149th New York Infantry Monument

Historical Sketch of the 149th Infantry Regiment

Also thanks for the photos used

Civil War Contributions of Syracuse's Jewish Community

A Photographic Tour of Gettysburg Cemetery Hill, Culp's Hill Area

Culp’s Hill Part 4

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