First Corps Flag -General Charles F. Roe Estate


During the Sioux Campaign of 1876, Charles Roe and his company of 2nd U.S. cavalryman were the first troops apart from the 7th Cavalry to witness the horrific scene of the massacre of Lt. Colonel George Custer, and the troopers under his immediate command. General Roe was the first commander of the 1st Bde, 2nd Didv., 1st Corps in the Spanish American War, and ordered this flag to be made for him.

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The First Corps flag being offered here came from the estate of Major General Charles Franklin Roe. It is accompanied by the original plans and measurements, and the lid of the original box it was contained in.

The triangular shape with the colors red, blue and white, with the 1st Corps badge superimposed upon the center section.  The color white for the corps badge represents the 2nd Division.  (Red -1st, White -2nd, Blue -3rd Divisions).

The measurements for the flag are:  Hoist 48″, Hoist to point 49.5″, Red section 14″ wide, Blue and White each 17″.  The 2nd Division / 1st Corps badge is 12″ x 6.”

Now mounted on acid free backing, the flag needed conservation as the silk had started to come unraveled due to the nature of old silk and poor storage over a long period.  Stress lines are mostly in the red section.  The white triangle area at some point suffered water damage and staining occurred, leading to eventual disintegration of some of the silk.  Modern material was blended in to support the damaged area.  One side visible only and framed and plexi-glass.

In researching the flag to date, I can’t find many examples for comparison, but will continue until the flag is pasted on to the next collector.

Charles Franklin Roe had a most interesting military career beginning at West Point and graduating in the Class of 1868.  His first assignment was with the 1st U.S. Cavalry as a 2nd Lieutenant.  In 1870 he transferred to the 2nd U.S. Cavalry and saw a great deal of campaigning and action on the Northern Plains through most of the 1870’s.

The most memorable event occurred during the Sioux Campaign of 1876, when Roe and his company were the first troops apart from the 7th Cavalry to witness the horrific scene of the massacre of Lt. Colonel George Custer, and 15 officers and approximately 300 men (Roe’s on the spot estimate).  He described in a pencil letter written at the immediate time to his wife, “The whole valley for two miles is dead horses & soldiers.”  Obviously Roe spared his wife the ghastly details.

Roe retired to New York in 1889 and became a captain in the state national guard. He briefly took up a business in real estate, but was prompted to establish “Troop A” New York Cavalry in 1889, and would rise to the rank of major general in the National Guard State of New York.

According to Cullam’s, Roe was commanding the NYSNG from April 4, 1898, establishing Camp Black, Long Island on May 1, 1898. And later commanded the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 1st Army Corps during the Spanish American War.

An extremely rare and historic American Military Flag, with a great history in the Spanish American War, and that of its owners career in the regular and state military.

I have included a photocopy of Roe’s,  Custer’s Last Battle, Narrative of the Tragedy on the Little Big Horn, in what is now the State of Montana, June 25, 1876.

Shipping to be determined.


Additional information

Dimensions 55 × 48 × 12 in