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N-SSA Northwest Territory members again help Save the Flags
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 Detroits Historic Fort
Wayne where many Michigan regiments were mustered into service. In 2017, the NWT selected
the State of Michigans 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 Michigans 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.
NWT honors sixty-year veteran
In August, the Northwest Territory honored skirmisher Ralph Linley for 60 years of
continuous shooting in the region. He was a founding member of the N-SSA USS Michigan Landing Party
and a member of that unit for 48 years. When that unit disbanded, he joined the 15th Virginia Cavalry
and is still an active member.He started shooting black powder firearms as a teenager with the family
14-gauge shotgun. Linley and a friend began shooting original Civil War era firearms with his father
who was an avid early shooter and collector. Back then there were no reproduction Civil War firearms
available so he purchased an original 1861 Springfield with an unfired barrel for a mere $25 when he was
17!He shot that rifle musket in competition for over 15 years and then retired it. Today, he still shoots
an original 1861, but with a reproduction barrel. Linley has been active in skirmishing, living history,
teaching, blacksmithing and volunteering at historic sites since retiring to North Carolina 23 years ago.
He fervently hopes that many skirmishers can be active long enough to be honored as he was.