Flags of the
Confederate States of America

(1861 - 1865)


 

Salute to the Confederate Flag
I salute the Confederate Flag with affection, reverence, and undying devotion to the cause for which it stands.

  

The First National Flag - "Stars and Bars"

 

 

 

 

Although not as well known as the "Confederate Battle Flags", the Stars and Bars was used as the official flag of the Confederacy from March 1861 until May 1, 1863.  Due to the similarity in pattern and colors of the Union's Stars and Stripes it was sometimes difficult to distinguish the two flags from each other in the heat of battle and  considerable confusion sometimes occurred.  

The seven stars on the version of the flag shown here represent the seven original Confederate States:   South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. Additional stars were added for the later admission of Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri increasing the total number of stars to thirteen. (Stars Twelve and Thirteen were Kentucky and Missouri who never formally conceded from the Union but were recognized by the Confederacy.)

  

The Confederate Battle Flag - "Southern Cross" (square)

 

Due to the confusion caused on the battlefield by the similarity between the Stars and Bars and the Stars and Stripes, General Beaurgard attempted to remedy the problem by having the Confederate Flag changed to this design which he presented to Congress on March 4, 1861.  Instead Congressman William Porcher Miles suggested that the army adopt its own distinctive battle flag and recommended that Beaurgard's "Southern Cross" design be adopted for that purpose.  The square design of the flag was chosen as being lighter to carry and less likely to become entangled in tree branches or caught on bayonets.  Three sizes of the flag were issued - 48 inches for the infantry, 36 inches for the artillery, and 30 inches for the cavalry.  Some units added borders of gold.

Naval Battle Flag - C.S.A. Jack Flag

The Confederate Navy Jack was a rectangular version of the Battle Flag with the white border around the outside omitted.   Although used primarily by the Confederate Navy, some ground troops also used this flag.  This design is probably the most widely recognized symbol of the Confederacy.

  

The Second National Flag - the "Stainless Banner"

 

The issue of designing a new flag for the confederate States which was truly distinctive from the Union's Stars and Stripes was raised in 1862.  The new design which was officially adopted  on May 1, 1863 includes the Battle Flag in the canton on a field of pure white.  The white field from which the name "Stainless Banner" was drerived is symbolic for the purity of the cause which it represented.  The first new flag manufactured was used to drape the coffin of general Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson when it lay in state in the confederate House of Representatives. 

 

The Third National Flag -  The Last National Flag

 

The Second National Flag's white field could be mistaken for a white flag of surrender, especially when the flag hung limp in still air.  To rectify the problem, a red bar was added to the end of the stainless white field of the second national flag to create this new design which was adopted on March 4, 1865, just 36 days before the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia on April 9.

The Bonnie Blue Flag

 

 

The Lone Star flag, the "Bonnie Blue Flag", was used by various groups seeking independence beginning in 1810, including West Florida (1810) and   Texas (1836-1839).  When Mississippi adopted an Ordinance of Secession the Bonnie Flag was raised over the State Capital.  Although never officially adopted by the Confederate government, the people did and this flag was incorporated in five of the southern states that adopted new flags in 1861.