Irvine holding shredded flag after Gettysburg
During the second day of Battle of Gettysburg, the Confederate army advanced to a hill important to the Union's victory. Only the First Minnesota was left to defend it until reinforcements came. Knowing it would result in the loss of most of the regiment, Colonel William Colvill led 262 Minnesotans against the Confederate army, which numbered about 1,600. More than 80% of the regiment was killed or wounded, but the Minnesotans held back the Confederates long enough for backup to come. Sergeant William Irvine, who is holding the shredded First Minnesota flag carried at Gettysburg, died 10 days after he was wounded at the Battle of Petersburg, in June 1864.