History of Our Flags

When we speak about “THE CONFEDERATE FLAG” which flag are we referring to? To date there has been over 2,200 different Confederate Flags identified  that were used by the Southern States during the War of Northern Aggression and some are still in use today.

The State Flag of Virginia was used during the War and remains in use now.  Slight variations of the South Carolina, North Carolina and Texas Flags, are all “Confederate Flags” and are still in use today.  What about the flag of West Virginia?  That State and Flag were born during the War (June 1863), in which over half of the state had southern sympathies and military units.

What does it mean when the Crescent Moon is backwards (upside down) on a variant of the South Carolina Flag?  It indicates that the State is in a defensive mode.

For several years now the South’s Heritage has been under attack.   Certain organizations and Individuals have seen fit to blame a piece of cloth for everything wrong in the United States.

In the State of South Carolina the SC House and Senate decided in 1962 to erect the Confederate Battle Flag on the State House.  It was to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the War Between the States.  It was to fly from 1962 to 1965; however the governing bodies never included the end date in the Bill.

The NAACP called for it’s removal as early as 1994.  Our Army of Northern Virginia Flag was removed from the State House in 2000 and moved to the monument on the State House Grounds to appease the NAACP.  The NAACP found this unsatisfactory and continued their protest.

KEEP HER FLYING – Heritage Not Hate

If she doesn’t wave over the State House or on State House grounds, we as Southerners can still host her and fly her at our homes in honor of our ancestors.

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Confederate Flag Designer William Porcher Miles on the Heraldry of the Battle Flag

Richmond, August 27, 1861.
Gen. G. T. Beauregard,
Fairfax Court house, Virginia:

Dear General, I received your letter concerning the flag yesterday, and cordially concur in all that you say. Although I was chairman of the ‘Flag Committee,’ who reported the present flag, it was not my individual choice. I urged upon the committee a flag of this sort. [Design sketched.] This is very rough, the proportions are bad. [Design of Confederate battle-flag as it is.]

The above is better. The ground red, the cross blue (edged with white), stars white.

This was my favorite. The three colors of red, white, and blue were preserved in it. It avoided the religious objection about the cross (from the Jews and many Protestant sects), because it did not stand out so conspicuously as if the cross had been placed upright thus. [Design sketched.]

Besides, in the form I proposed, the cross was more heraldic than ecclesiastical, it being the ‘saltire’ of heraldry, and significant of strength and progress (from the Latin salto, to leap). The stars ought always to be white, or argent, because they are then blazoned ‘proper’ (or natural color). Stars, too, show better on an azure field than any other. Blue stars on a white field would not be handsome or appropriate. The ‘white edge’ (as I term it) to the blue is partly a necessity to prevent what is called ‘false blazoning,’ or a solecism in heraldry, viz., blazoning color on color, or metal on metal. It would not do to put a blue cross, therefore, on a red field. Hence the white, being metal argent, is put on the red, and the blue put on the white. The introduction of white between the blue and red, adds also much to the brilliancy of the colors, and brings them out in strong relief.

But I am boring you with my pet hobby in the matter of the flag. I wish sincerely that Congress would change the present one. Your reasons are conclusive in my mind. But I fear it is just as hard now as it was at Montgomery to tear people away entirely from the desire to appropriate some reminiscence of the ‘old flag.’ We are now so close to the end of the session that even if we could command votes (upon a fair hearing), I greatly fear we cannot get’ such hearing. Some think the provisional Congress ought to leave the matter to the permanent. This might, then, be but a provisional flag. Yet, as you truly say, after a few more victories, ‘association’ will come to the aid of the present flag, and then it will be more difficult than ever to effect a change. I fear nothing can be done; but I will try. I will, as soon as I can, urge the matter of the badges. The President is too sick to be seen at present by any one.

Very respectfully yours,

Wm. Porcher Miles.

Transcribed by T. Lloyd Benson, Department of History, Furman University, from Peleg D. Harrison, The Stars and Stripes and other American Flags (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1908), 337-38. Old style block quotation marks removed.

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The confusion caused by the similarity in the flags of the Union and the Confederacy was of great concern to Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard after the first Battle of Manassas. He suggested that the Confederate National Flag be changed to something completely different, in order to avoid confusion in battles in the future. However, this idea was rejected by the Confederate government. Beauregard then suggested that there should be two flags. One, the National flag, and the second one being a battle flag, with the battle flag being completely different from the United States flag.

No Confederate flag was ever flown on a slave ship.  English, Dutch, Portuguese, and the New England States ships were used in the slave trade.

 

confeder

  • The first National flag design looked too much like the Union Flag and caused confusion in commanding armies in maneuvers.  Known as the “Stars and Bars”.

 

  • The second one looked too much like a surrender flag when there was no breeze and it was hanging limply..

 

3rd flag

  • A vertical red bar was added to the third and final version of the Confederate national flag.

 

Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.svg

  • This is the first Army of Northern Virginia Flag used by General Robert E. Lee as his Headquarters Flag .  (Special Note:  Gen. Robert E. Lee never owned slaves and released the slaves his future wife to be owned prior to the War.)

 

  • This is the Confederate Battle Flag for the Army of Northern Virginia .  It was first used on December 1861 until the end of the war.

 

  • This is the Confederate Battle Flag for the Army of Tennessee, and was the 2nd Confederate Naval Jack .  Was in use from 1863 to 1865.

 

  • This is the Bonnie Blue Confederate Flag used at the beginning of the War Between the States; aka Republic of West Florida Flag .  The flag was first used by the Republic of West Florida, which broke away from Spanish West Florida in September 1810.   Was used by Mississippi when she seceded from the Union in 1861.

 

Flag of South Carolina.svg

  • This is the current South Carolina Flag, which a variant was adopted  January 28, 1861.  That variant involved the Crescent facing the opposite direction.  (In Defense)

 

  • “Big Red” (Spirit Flag) adopted by the Citadel in Charleston, SC on January 9, 1861.   Used on Morris Island when the Cadets from the Citadel fired on Fort Sumter.

 

  • This is the South Carolina Sovereignty Flag.  It was never recognized as an official flag of South Carolina, but flew briefly in December 1860 following South Carolina’s Secession .

 

  • This is the South Carolina Secession Flag.  It was flown over the Charleston Custom House the day following South Carolina’s Secession.  It spread to other cities in South Carolina, but had a brief life.  It was subsequently flown on the C.S.S. Dixie.

 

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