What You Didn’t Know About Confederate Flags

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The history of the flags used during the civil war, their origins, and their story.

There are a myriad of flags representing the Confederate States of America, many Confederate units brought their own state flags into battle.  Regardless, if they weren’t flying the “stars and stripes”, anything else was a flag of secession, but the flags used in many battles were unofficial flags. There were actually 3 official national flags of the Confederate states.   So I will briefly touch on each one.

The first flag of the Confederate States of America.

This flag was actually referred to as the “Stars and Bars” and was the real flag of the Confederacy.  The first national flag was taken into battle, but because it bore very strong resemblance to the United States “Stars and Stripes”, the flag was changed to avoid confusion on the battlefield.  It must be said that the first national flag was in service the longest from 1861 to 1863

The second flag of the Confederacy.

The second flag, known as the “stainless banner”, had St. Andrew’s cross in the canton section of the flag with the flag being adopted as the second national flag.  The second national flag was used from 1863 to 1865.  The problem with the second national flag is it bore a strong resemblance to a surrender flag or a flag of truce when draped and therefore replaced by the third national flag

The third national flag of the Confederacy.

The second flag was adopted in the last few remaining months of the war and was known as the “blood stained banner.”  The difference between the second and third national flag was a red vertical bar added to keep it from being mistaken as a flag of truce.

The Confederate Battle Flag

The Confederate Battle flag is quite often mistaken as the national flag of the Confederacy.  It was adopted to keep from being mistaken as a flag of the “stars and stripes” which was an issue with the “Stars and Bars” or first national flag.  It was also adopted in the field to keep it from being mistaken as a truce flag which was the case for the second national flag.  The Confederate States of America adopted St. Andrews cross as a way to communicate that it was a Christian nation.

The Confederate Naval Jack used St. Andrews Cross to make sure it was not mistaken for the stars and strips or the flag of truce.

Now you know the story of the Confederate National Flags.

Author - Jerry Avalos
Title Photo Credit: "Museum of the Confederacy", © 2009 Desiree Williams, Flickr | CC-BY-ND
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