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Confederate Battle Flag
National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Confederate Battle Flag

Date: 1861
Catalog #: 59858M    Accession #: 219818
Credit:  Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 48" H x 48" W

Physical Description

Red, white and blue cloth

General History

The Confederate battle flag was born of necessity after the Battle of Bull Run. Amid the smoke and general chaos of battle, it was hard to distinguish the Confederate national flag, the “Stars and Bars," from the U. S. national flag, the "Stars and Stripes.” Confederate Congressman William Porcher Miles suggested that the army have a distinct battle flag. General Pierre T. Beauregard chose a variation on the cross of St. Andrew. The battle flag features a blue cross, edged with a white band on a red field. There are three stars on each arm of the cross and one star in the center. The stars represented each of the states of the Confederacy, plus one. Beauregard was betting that one of the states with pro-Confederacy leanings, Maryland, Kentucky or Missouri, would join the Southern cause. That never happened, but the flag remained the same for the remainder of the war.


Country: United States
War: Civil War
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