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The Flags of the Confederacy

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Bonnie Blue Flag

This flag has a long, rich history. Originally used as the banner for the Republic of West Florida in a revolt against Spain (16 September to 10 December 1810) it later became the flag for the Republic of Texas (10 December 1836 - 25 January 1839). Through these uses it gained much emotional appeal to those living in the Mississippi / Texas area. It was the unofficial flag of Mississippi in 1861 when they decided to break with the United States and form the Republic of Mississippi.

At the time of its use by secessionist Mississippi, it was said that Mississippi was "taking their star with them," indicating that they were leaving the United States - and thus reducing the number of stars on the Union flag by one.

Also at that time a very popular song called "The Bonnie Blue Flag" swept the confederacy and made this flag a popular symbol with the confederate people. It was never officially adopted by the Confederate Government but the concept of a lone star flag remains visible even today in the flags of the area.

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The First Official Flag of the Confederacy

Although less well known than the "Confederate Battle Flags",the Stars and Bars was used as the official flag of the Confederacy from March 1861 to May of 1863. The pattern and colors of this flag did not distinguish it sharply fom the stars and stripes of the Union. Consequently, considerable confusion was caused on the battlefield.

The seven stars represent the original Confederate States; South Carolina (December 20, 1860), Mississippi(January 9, 1861), Florida (January 10,1861), Alabama (January 11, 1861), Georgia (January 19, 1861), Louisiana (January 26, 1861), and Texas (February 1, 1861).

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The second Official Flag of the Confederacy

On May 1st,1863, a second design was adopted, placing the Battle Flag (also known as the "Southern Cross") as the canton on a white field. This flag was easily mistaken for a white flag of surrender especially when the air was calm and the flag hung limply.

The flag now had 13 stars having been joined officially by four more states, Virginia (April 17, 1861), Arkansas (May 6, 1861), Tennessee (May 7, 1861), North Carolina (May 21, 1861). Efforts to secede failed in Kentucky and Missouri though those states were represented by two of the stars.

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The third Official Flag of the Confederacy
 
On March 4th,1865, a short time before the collapse of the Confederacy, a third pattern was adapted; a broad bar of red was placed on the fly end of the white field.

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The Confederate Battle Flag

The best-known Confederate flag, however, was the Battle Flag, the familiar "Southern Cross". It was carried by Confederate troops in the field which were the vast majority of forces under the confederacy.
The Stars represented the 11 states actually in the Confederacy plus Kentucky and Missouri.

 

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Confederate Navy Jack

Used as a navy jack at sea from 1863 onward. This flag has become the generally recognized symbol of the South.

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