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Flags related to the Civil War.
The modern U.S. "Confederate Flag:"

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Actual "Confederate Flags:"

The Confederacy used a variety of "national flags" during its four years of existence from 1861 to 1865: 1

First Confederate flag First Confederate Flag. It came with four variations, having 7,9,11, or 13 stars between 1861-NOV-28 and 1863-MAY-01. It was a.k.a. the "Stars and Bars," and was designed by Nicola Marschall (1829-1917). The colored part was taken from the flag of the Confederate army of Northern Virginia. It contains 13 stars. Each star was supposed to represent one state in the Confederacy. Two were initially reserved for Kentucky and Missouri which initially remained neutral. However:

  • After the Union Army invaded Missouri its government joined the Confederacy on Halloween of 1861. They ended up with two state governments for a while: the elected government, and a provisional government created by the Union who remained in the U.S.

  • Kentucky also tried to remain neutral. However they were invaded by the Confederate Army, and one day later by the Union Army. They never joined the Confederacy. 2

The Image is by Ariane Schmidt.

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Second Confederate flag Second Confederate Flag, between 1863-MAY-01 and 1865-MAR-04. It was a.k.a. "The Stainless Banner", the "Jackson Flag", and the "White Man's Flag". It was designed by William Thompson (1812-1992). Image is by Fornax.

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Third Confederate Flag Third Confederate Flag, between 1863-MAR-04 until the Confederacy disbanded. It was a.k.a. the the "Blood Stained Banner." It was designed by Arthur L. Rogers. Image is by Abjiklam.

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Today's "Confederate Flag":

Confederate flag 3

The Army of Northern Virginia's battle flag under General Robert E. Lee became the flag of the Confederate Navy in 1863. It has since become the modern-day "Confederate flag" even though it was a navy flag and never actually used to represent the Confederate States of America in any other way. It is now cherished by many Americans as symbolic of Southern culture, states 'rights, and historical commemoration. It is also treasured by many white supremacists and neo-nazis, and reviled by other Americans as symbolic of slavery, opposition to human rights, racism, race-based hatred, and lynching.

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The "Confederate Flag" today:

Use of "Confederate Flag" is clearly now in transition in the U.S.

James Queally, writing for the Los Angeles Times said:

"Over the years, the Confederate battle flag has come to mean different things to different people in politics and pop culture. To many, it is emblematic of slavery, racism and the bloody battles that made the Civil War the deadliest conflict in U.S. history. But supporters of the flag say they see it as a memorial to slain Confederate soldiers."

Some Southern states flew the Confederate Flag until recent years on their Capitol grounds. South Carolina was the last holdout; it flew there until the year 2015. It was removed after the mass murder of nine church members in a historic black church in Charleston by Dylann Roof, a white supremacist.

Elements of the "Confederate Flag" can be seen today in the state flags of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi. 4

As of 2017-AUG, some states, including Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, still offer custom automobile license plates displaying the Sons [sic] of Confederate Veterans logo, which incorporate the square Confederate naval flag. 6

Heidi Beirich, head of the Intelligence Project for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said that the Confederate battle flag is an icon in:

"... every sector of the hate movement. ... When I came to Alabama, you would see these flags all over the place. And that has been less and less. You mostly see it now in the backwoods areas in Southern states or on Confederate memorials."

It remains very popular among the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi, and other white supremacist groups.

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Books about the Confederate flag:

Amazon review:

"In recent years, the Confederate flag has become as much a news item as a Civil War relic. Intense public debates have erupted over Confederate flags flying atop state capitols, being incorporated into state flags, waving from dormitory windows, or adorning the T-shirts and jeans of public school children. To some, this piece of cloth is a symbol of white supremacy and enduring racial injustice; to others, it represents a rich Southern heritage and an essential link to a glorious past. Polarizing Americans, these "flag wars" reveal the profound -- and still unhealed -- schisms that have plagued the country since the Civil War.

The Confederate Battle Flag is the first comprehensive history of this contested symbol. Transcending conventional partisanship, John Coski reveals the flag's origins as one of many banners unfurled on the battlefields of the Civil War. He shows how it emerged as the preeminent representation of the Confederacy and was transformed into a cultural icon from Reconstruction on, becoming an aggressively racist symbol only after World War II and during the Civil Rights movement. We gain unique insight into the fine line between the flag's use as a historical emblem and as an invocation of the Confederate nation and all it stood for. Pursuing the flag's conflicting meanings, Coski suggests how this provocative artifact, which has been viewed with pride, fear, anger, nostalgia, and disgust, might ultimately provide Americans with the common ground of a shared and complex history."

Amazon review:

"In recent years the Confederate Battle Flag has been vilified. As a result most do not realize that the flag is NOT a symbol of hate but rather it was a Christian Symbol that dates back to the old Roman-Celtic Wars. The flag was also carried into battle by William Wallace in the War for Scottish Independence and the flag has also been used by several other Christian groups down through the centuries as they fought against Popery and for political freedom from tyrannical governments. With 61 sources listed in the endnotes, this well documented 10-chapter book gives the real history of the Confederate Battle Flag (also known as the "Southern Cross" or as "St. Andrew's Cross) and sets the record straight." Amazon customers rate the book with 4.0 stars out of a maximum of 5.*

* These are surprisingly high values considering the controversial nature of the flag.

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Some related essays and sections on this web site that may interest you:

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Flag of the Confederate States of America ...," Wikipedia, 2005 to 2013, at: public domain symbolIn the public domain.
  2. Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr., "Why are there 13 stars on Confederate flags?," Confederate Flags, at:
  3. Image downloaded from Pixabay at: CC0 Creative Commons. Original image by "sinisamaric1" of Beocin, Serbia.
  4. "These 5 states still use Confederate symbols in their flags," NBC News, 2015-JUN-23, at:
  5. James Queally, "The Confederate flag: Where it flies, where it's coming down and why it's still used," Los Angeles Times, 2015-JUN-25, at:
  6. "Modern display of the Confederate flag," Wikipedia, as of 2017-AUG-23, at:

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Copyright Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Author: B.A. Robinson
Originally posted on: 2013-JUL-30
Extracted from another essay on
Latest update: 2017-AUG-23
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