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"Confederate Flags" Topic

21 Posts

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American Civil War

1,298 hits since 5 Feb 2008
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

SJDonovan05 Feb 2008 7:32 a.m. PST

Did Confederate units generally carry a single flag into battle? I know some units carried state flags or unit colours but did they carry these in addition to a Battle Flag or in place of it?

I'm painting up some 10mm figures at the moment and I have been mounting two standrad bearers on my union comand bases (one carrying a national colour and the other carrying a regimental colour). Would it be appropriate to do something similar with my Rebs?

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP05 Feb 2008 8:57 a.m. PST

Depends a bit on the unit and the time of the war, i.e. multiple flags were more common early in the war – as an example, North Carolina issued silk state flags for the first through 10th state regiments in 1861, but none thereafter. The state flags were used widely early on in the East, but once the famous Battle Flags were established they were, I believe, less commonly used. I mount one flag per Confederate regiment (I use 15 mm) and use two flags for some of my Union regiments (who actually did use state flags for the entire war)

zippyfusenet05 Feb 2008 9:05 a.m. PST

Upon secession, the situation was chaotic with various state regulations being or not being followed. When Confederate regulations were established, these called for regiments in Confederate service to carry one battle flag each, the flag being of the pattern established for that regiment's highest command (division, corps or army, depending on the theater).

Most battle flags were similar to the 'southern cross' Beauregard pattern first used in the ANV, but some formations had very different patterns. Some formations never established a battle flag pattern and used one of the national flag patterns. Some individual units carried non-regulation flags for their formation, especially if they had to replace the flag for some reason, or carried more than one color, but both were unusual.

For detailed accuracy, you have to research the particular historical formation at a particular point in time that you're modelling. For a more generic 'corn-federate' army, a single southern cross or a single stars and bars for most units, with a few carrying variant colors would probably pass for everyone but the real sticklers.

Oddball05 Feb 2008 9:27 a.m. PST

As a rule of thumb, CSA units carried one flag each.


There are many cases of units having two flags. What Frederick and Zippy wrote is a good guide to go by.

What I did for my 15mm figures that each regiment carries a battleflag (mine are Hardee flags as I painted up Army of Tennessee – Western Conferderate Army, 1862/63). One regiment in each brigade would also have a second flag, usually a state flag or 1st Confederate.

Wizard Whateley05 Feb 2008 9:37 a.m. PST

In the spring of 1863 the ANV was given a directive to send all state flags home. To the best of my knowledge only Texas units in Hood's division did not do this, and carried state flags and battle flags.

Ooh Rah05 Feb 2008 9:51 a.m. PST

The same question was recently discussed on the Johnny Reb III Yahoo group. The concensus was that early in the war confederate regiments may have carried a variety of flags, including state flags and national flags. Some companies may even have carried their own unit flags. Later in the war regiments mostly carried only the battle flag. However, there is very little historical evidence to prove how many flags were carried by specific confederate regiments.

The best advice in that discussion (IMO) was to do what you want and if someone questions the number of flags, ask them for the reference book and citation page that proves you are wrong. I *really* like that advice! To me, the state flags look good on the table and help to identify the regiment by state. For my 10mm, I've been using the state flag and a battle flag unless I can find a specific reference that indicates otherwise for a particular unit.

doc mcb05 Feb 2008 10:04 a.m. PST

I agree with Ooh Rah. State flags make it easy to see what regiments are brigaded together. It looks good, and it is arguably as accurate, when one is using the same toys to represent eastern and western troops, early and late war.

SJDonovan05 Feb 2008 10:13 a.m. PST

Thanks for the replies guys. I may well follow Ooh Rah's example and issue my units with state flags so that I can tell one brigade from another. Anyway, I'm a bit of a sucker for flags and standards and I like to see as many of them on the table as possible.

10wilcox05 Feb 2008 10:55 a.m. PST

Sorry to put a bust on Ooh Rah's example, but to the best of my knowledge there were few states that even issued state flags to its regiments. Now, the first year or so of the war you would have seen many different flag types and sizes and regiments were probably carrying several. Usually each company had its own standard upon being formed. However, the only states that were adequate in supplying state flags were Virginia and North Carolina, but they were only able to supply so many. Here is a link to a good site on the formation of state flags and their prevalance on the field.


Wizard Whateley05 Feb 2008 1:14 p.m. PST

Richard Rollins does a study of the Confederate flags captured at Gettysburg (there were a lot) in 'The Damned Red Flags of the Rebellion'. He details where they fell, the circumstances of the capture, and the flag itself. Other than Texas there are no state flags.

WarWizard05 Feb 2008 1:20 p.m. PST

All my CSA forces carry 2 falgs. Either 1 Natianal and 1 State or 1 Battle Flag and 1 State.

RudyNelson05 Feb 2008 2:15 p.m. PST

Not only does the carrying of flags vary from State to State but also Corps to Corps.

All Alabama units reporting to Hardee's and Polk's Corps had unit flags (given to them when they left home and most using the First National pattern) placed into baggage and used mainly as camp flags for long term bivouacs.

I read one report of a Captain of a company wearing his as an over the sholder sash, His wife had made the company flag before departure.

Ooh Rah05 Feb 2008 8:18 p.m. PST

Nice link, 10Wilcox. Added it to my Favorites list. Lots of good information there -- thanks for posting it!

EJNashIII06 Feb 2008 8:22 a.m. PST

My 10mm eastern Rebs carry only 1 flag unless I have a reference otherwise. I did run across a unit that I was interested in that had flags for every company. However, it appeared they might have just rotated thru the flags (i.e. pick one for the regiment for the day).

lithographer04 Oct 2018 2:37 p.m. PST

Am I correct in thinking that corps, divisional or HQ flags were not commonly used in the confederate army.

Bill N05 Oct 2018 8:53 a.m. PST

Confederate HQ down to brigade level had HQ flags. Not sure how universal they were, and they don't seem to have been anything special. For example Brig. Gen. Branch of Hill's Light Division used a 12 star version of the first Confederate national flag as his HQ flag in 1862.

donlowry05 Oct 2018 1:21 p.m. PST

What is your figure-to-man ratio? If one figure represents more than one man, then shouldn't one flag-bearer figure represent more than one real flag-bearer?

EJNashIII07 Oct 2018 5:36 a.m. PST

I would say you are down to creating an image. If your "regiment" is 3 men on a stand, then no flags for a given regiment is fine. If you have 50 figures to a regiment, then 2 flags and a color guard might look better.

maverick290922 Oct 2018 6:25 p.m. PST

And this my friends is why we play Union. More flags more better! :)

What I did for my western regiments was model the Lentuxky Orphan Brigade. From what I've read in 1862-1863 they used a Hardee battle flag as well as the national flag. I had an abundance of flag bearers so I modeled my regiments with two standards each. The rest of the regiments I just used one national flag.

Bill N24 Oct 2018 10:06 a.m. PST

Is it more flags or just more of the same flags Maverick?

huevans01110 Nov 2018 7:34 p.m. PST

Richard Rollins does a study of the Confederate flags captured at Gettysburg (there were a lot) in 'The Damned Red Flags of the Rebellion'. He details where they fell, the circumstances of the capture, and the flag itself. Other than Texas there are no state flags.

Pretty much accepted that the ANV generally did not carry state flags – just ANV colours.

The more interesting question is what flags units which joined the ANV on a temporary or ad hoc basis carried when they came from other departments or commands.

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