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Great Seal of the Confederacy

Great Seal of the Confederacy

Date: 1864
Credit: Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History


Joseph S. Wyon (Designer)

J.S. Wyon had a firm in London. They were engravers to Queen Victoria and makers of the Great Seal of England.

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 10" H x 5" W x 1" D

Physical Description

Medal with an equestrian portrait of George Washington, surrounded by a wreath composed of the principal agricultural products of the Confederacy including cotton, tobacco, sugar cane, wheat and rice. Embossed around the edge, " The Confederate States of America: 22 February,1862" and the motto, Deo Vindice, or God will vindicate. The medal rests in a wooden box covered in leather and lined in maroon velvet and green simulated watered silk.

General History

The date on the Confederate Seal commemorates the inauguration of Jefferson Davis as President of the Confederate States, and the establishment of the Permanent Government of the Confederate States of America in Richmond, Virginia. When the Seal was completed, it was delivered to James Mason, a confidential agent of the Confederacy in England. He selected Lieutenant R.T. Chapman of the Confederate Navy to bring it to America. In order to avoid the naval blockade, Lt. Chapman was forced to take a long and circuitous route. He went form England to Halifax, Nova Scotia, then to the Island of Bermuda and finally to Wilmington, North Carolina. When the Confederate Government evacuated Richmond in April of 1865, Mrs. William J. Bromwell, the wife of an official of the Confederate State Department, smuggled the Seal from the doomed city. Together with an important part of the Confederate archives, the Seal was hidden from Federal forces in a barn near Richmond. It eventually made its way into the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, where it can be seen today.


Country: United States
War: Civil War
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