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Flags of the Civil War

The Civil War Flag:
It was not found practical to add a stripe to the flag for each new state admitted to the Union. The idea was abandoned after the two stripes were added for Vermont and Kentucky. On April 4, 1818 Congress passed a law which provided that the flag of the United States be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white, and that on the admission of every state into the Union one star be added to the blue union of the flag. West Virginia and Nevada were admitted to the Union in 1863 and 1864. Nevada was the 36th State admitted. The 36 star design is therefore know as the Civil War Flag of the United States of America.


The Stars & Bars or First National Flag:
The First National Flag to be adopted by the Confederate States of America was the Stars and Bars, with 7 white stars in the blue field, one for each Confederate State at the time of adoption. This flag was raised over the Capitol Building in Montgomery, Alabama, at sunrise on March 4, 1861; being unfurled by a grand-daughter of President John Tyler of Virginia. The 12th star represented the state of Missouri, admitted to the Confederate States of America by vote of the Confederate Congress, November 28, 1861. The 13th star was for Kentucky, admitted December 10, 1861. It is now used with 13 stars in the blue field by the United Daughters of the Confederacy as their flag.


The Battle Flag:
At the battle of Manassas July 21, 1861, General Beauregard was anxiously hoping for reinforcements, while holding his ground against great odds. The reinforcements come, but for a time the General could not tell whether the troops were Confederate or Federal. The Stars and Bars in the edust and heat of battle could scarecely be distinguished from the Stars and Stripes. Beauregard decided that this must not happen again; that the Confederacy must have a flag that could not be mistaken. This flag was adopted in September 1861 and was the one which was to follow the cause of the Confederacy until the end. It was used in three sizes only. It is the insignia of the United Confederate Veterans. This is sometimes called the “southern cross.”
Infantry Size 52”x52” Artillery Size 38”x38” Cavalry size 32”x32”


The Stainless Banner or Second National Flag:
The likeness of the Stars and Bars to the United States Flag often caused confusion. Therefore, the Confederate Congress on May 1, 1863, adopted the design for a new flag. This second National Flag was pure white with the “Battle Flag” in the upper left hand corner.


The Last National:
It was found that the Second National Flag when hanging limp, could easily be mistaken for a flag of truce. So, on March 4, 1865, Congress again changed the National Flag. This was done by placing a broad red bar across the end of the Stainless Banner, thus forming the fourth and last Flag of the Confederacy. In a few days Congress adjourned and the Flag was not made until some time later when its design was found among the Records. It is now used by the Sons of Confederate Veterans as their insignia.

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