Every country has had its share of ups and downs in history. It is the documentation of these ups and downs that make the country's history worth reading and learning about. The United States of America (USA), like all other countries has also had its share of defining moments that have made its history. One such event in the history of the United States is the American Civil War. The effects of the Civil War can be seen even today, especially in the form of the state flags that have adopted and modified versions of the confederate flag. In this Historyplex article, we'll share with you some information about the history of the confederate flag, why the flag was designed and how it got its current form.
History of the Confederate Flag
American history has been riddled with wars of different types. The American Civil War was probably one of the most important ones to take place in the country. The causes and effects of the Civil War are always discussed, and there is one specific development that resulted from the Civil War. It is the formation of the Confederate States of America. These were the states that renounced the unification with the United States and decided to be a separate entity. The reason behind this was to prove that it was only these Confederate states that were the true upholders of all the values and principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence. These states designed and came up with their own flag(s) and that's what we'll get to know about in the section below. Given here is the history of the confederate flag. They are step by step accounts of how the final confederate flag that we see adorning so many Southern homes emerged. Read it and you'll know exactly how and why this flag came to be.
Stars and Bars: March 1861 to May 1863
The Congress of the Confederate States of America (CSA) convened a meeting and decided on this as the first formal flag of the CSA in March of 1861. It was a slight modification of the already existing flag of the USA. It was formally known as the 'Stars and Bars', and comprised 3 stripes in this order: red, white, red. On the upper left corner was a deep blue square which had a circle of 7 stars in it. This is how it got its name. This flag, however, was soon rejected due to some problems that it posed. During the battle in Virginia, between Manassas and Bull Run Creek, this flag caused a lot of serious confusion. Because it bore a striking resemblance to the flag of the U.S. (stars and stripes), soldiers from the North and the South were often confused about who belonged to which part. This tiny mistake resulted in the death of many soldiers and hence it was decided to alter the design of the flag.
Stainless Banner: May 1863 to March 1865
Owing to the reason mentioned above, a change in the design of the flag was contemplated. However, this took some time. During the period of its usage, the Stars and Bars flag became a symbol of the true spirit of the struggle for independence. The popularity of the South's battle for independence increased and that of the loyalty towards the U.S. decreased. This is when the South or the Confederate States decided to come up with a new flag that would symbolize the purity of their struggle. So, they came up with another design that was an amalgamation of the Southern Cross (a blue cross with stars on it, set against a red background) and a white base. So, this flag had a white base and the Southern Cross was placed on the upper left portion of the flag. This flag was also referred to as the Battle Flag of the Confederate States. However, this flag too, posed some problems. When the flag was hung, the Cross got hidden and only the white portion was visible. This gave the flag an appearance of being a 'peace flag'. This caused a lot of confusion and was mistaken as a mark of surrender by the opposing forces. Hence, this one had to be changed too.
Third National Flag: March 1865 to Present
Finally, a new and unambiguous flag was designed and unfurled on March 4th, 1865. This flag had just one addition to the Stainless Banner. It had a vertical red stripe on the right side of the flag. So it looked like this: the Southern Cross on the upper left corner, set on a white background and a red vertical stripe on the right side. This was the final flag and is called the Third National Flag. There are many instances of controversies that arise about the confederate flag because this flag is used as a sign of opposing propaganda. Many Southern states, even after the dissolution of the C.S.A., continued to use the flag as a symbol of their loyalty to the Declaration of Independence. The state flags of Georgia and Mississippi have incorporated parts of the confederate flag and use them as their own.
Now you know the reason and the circumstances under which the Confederate Flag got its present appearance. Go on and share the knowledge.