With Pennsylvania's commitment to the Union war effort, Governor Andrew Curtin planned to supply every Commonwealth regiment with properly identified battle flags. Two Philadelphia companies, Horstmann Brothers and Evans & Hassall, were contracted by the state to supply colors to the regiments.
The flags were made of silk with a combination of machine and hand-sewn detailing that evidenced the pride of the manufacturers. The Infantry and Artillery flags were very large, most usually seventy-two inches square, whereas cavalry standards were smaller, no larger than forty by forty-six inches.
Infantry and Artillery units were issued three different types of flags – the State color – provided by the Commonwealth – and sometimes a National or Regimental color. The State color consisted of thirteen alternating red and white stripes with the Pennsylvania state seal in the canton. The National color also had thirteen red and white stripes, as well as a star pattern in the canton.
The pattern and number of stars varied by the year and location of the flag's production. The Regimental color displayed a Federal eagle centered on a blue background. Artillery units' Regimental colors, however, featured a red cannon design with a gold background. Cavalry units were generally issued a State Standard, National Standard, and a number of swallow-tailed guidons. Both standards were smaller than infantry-issued colors to enable them to be easily carried on horseback. The State Standard consisted of the Pennsylvania Coat of Arms centered on a blue background, and the National Standards were similar with the exception of the Federal eagle design.
Regimental units usually carried a combination of flags that were both state issued and acquired privately by raising money within the unit or as a gift from the soldiers' patriotic hometowns. When flags became damaged the men repaired the flag and/or staff themselves by any means available. Sometimes, however, the colors had become so war-torn, a replacement color was necessary.