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"A Matter of Confederate state Flags" Topic

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1,246 hits since 27 Jul 2017
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Comments or corrections?

marshalGreg27 Jul 2017 8:35 a.m. PST

There appears to be a limited amount info on this topic, that I have revealed so far, w/o acquiring specific books and to the fact of being someone new to "collecting" for this period.

Some things of interest was a comment made in a TMP post ( can't seem to be ale to relocate it) where once Lee took command in June 1862, shortly there after he ordered them to be removed.
1) Is there any supporting evidence of such an order and to the date it took affect.
2) prior to this order ( or not) how did units present the state pride in caring such a flag ( ie. arranged similar to the federal where both flags were present or alternating units of the brigade carried the state in stead of the 1st bunting [ for spring 1862] for the visual requirements of the brigadier to know arrangement of his regiments/colonels, or…?)?
3) would this have been regiment specific ( IE those brought to the field during the early 1861 period prior to new battle flag or something to that?

I have a small 10mm force now being painted up and I am trying to decide the flag arrangement for the early spring campaigns of 1862.

thanks for your support!

donlowry27 Jul 2017 8:49 a.m. PST

Keep in mind that most of the state flags of that era were not the same as the ones they have now.

marshalGreg27 Jul 2017 8:53 a.m. PST

Thanks donlowry!
Yes I have determined that fact and have a few states I have yet to determine what they should look like.
Another part of my puzzle but, secondary/ to be separate to this post, since the first questions answered will determine the effort/need to proceed to determine them.


Cement Head Inactive Member27 Jul 2017 9:25 a.m. PST

Hi marshalGreg,

There is actually an incredible amount of material available on ACW flags. It is a topic that has been discussed for many years.

It actually requires research on your part to discover information on what you are seeking. There are some excellent books out there that can help. Richard Zeitlin did a nice work on flags of The Iron Brigade of the West; The Returned Flags is a reprint of Confederate flags that were returned to the south; there was a book on Confederate Army of Tennessee flags by Howard Michael Madaus. I seem to recall that PA published a two-volume work on PA battle flags.

Anyway, you get the drift. Except for one of Hood's regiments at Antietam that may have had a Texas state flag, I don't recall any instances of state flags being used…oh yeah, the VMI cadets at New Market I think had a VA state flag.

I am far from an expert on this but it has been a topic I have been interested in for a number of years. Good luck.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2017 9:25 a.m. PST

There was such an order. Give me time, and I'll find the date, but June 1862 sounds about right. Remember that (a) it only applies to the ANV--not even to stray units in the Shenandoah Valley or along the Virginia-North Carolina coast, much less the Army of Tennessee--and (b) enforcement was only so-so.
The Texas regiments in the ANV definitely carried their state flags, and may not have carried any others. In fact, they seem to have gone on carrying the Lone Star after Lee's order. It's one of those "but I didn't think you meant it!" situations to which armies are prone. You'll also find reference to the First National with ANV regiments even as late as the Gettysburg Campaign.
I have never seen a specific reference to a Confederate regiment carrying multiple flags--which is not to say it didn't happen--and other than the Texans, I can't remember a specific reference to a state flag in the field. Certainly not all the flags Lee had sent home were state flags. I suspect the "Bonny Blue" was pretty common. (There were a couple of Hardee patterns captured with the fall of Petersburg, and I have no idea where they came from. I keep thinking they ought to connect with Longstreet's time in the West.)
God luck and keep us informed!

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2017 10:52 a.m. PST

Running through Rollins, The Damned Red Flags of the Rebellion. He says Lee's order is not extant, but various letters are, stating that such an order had been issued and accompanying flags returned to states and localities. Well, I've seen missing paperwork before now. Certainly by June 1862, the ANV flags are coming into use because Longstreet's people have begun marking them.

Note Rollins confirms Virginia flags in The Valley as late as New market, and North Carolina state flags along the North Carolina coast. (I doubt this last was an absolute: brigades kept swapping out between coastal duty under Harvey Hill and duty with the ANV.) Possibly worth noting that Fremantle described the ANV even as late as Gettysburg as "generally" carrying the ANV flag. Two First Nationals were captured in the Gettysburg Campaign, and another unit was known to carry a Second National.

I'd say for early 1862, you have a fair bit of leeway.

Bill N27 Jul 2017 1:08 p.m. PST

If you are looking for trends the safe course would be that after the Seven Days battles ANV units other than the Texas Brigade would just have the ANV Confederate Battle Flag. The reality is a number of Confederate units carried other flags after that date, so you need to look at it on a unit by unit battle by battle basis.

marshalGreg27 Jul 2017 1:34 p.m. PST

This is probably already in some of the good source books on the state flags, such as the Osprey III book on flags (which I do not have that one that have yet to be mentioned as solid must have and clarify my questions.
This has some information on the NC units which had state or variants, and as late as Gettysburg.
So perhaps some evidence, other than hoods was still carrying the state issue w/o the battle flag.
I still need to know if they carried both or was it carried as just one color ( that being either).


Cement Head Inactive Member27 Jul 2017 1:56 p.m. PST

That may be a question that can not be answered Greg. If you are talking about Hood's Texas Brigade you might try: Battle Flags of Texans in the Confederacy: Alan K. Sumrall

attilathepun4727 Jul 2017 9:25 p.m. PST

My understanding is that most American states did not have official flags until the 20th century, but that does not mean that all sorts of regimental standards were not devised, perhaps with some sort of official sanction by individual states. As noted above, any order by Lee concerning a standard pattern only applied to the Army of Northern Virginia.

I had a Confederate great grandfather from Missouri who served in the 7th Missouri (eventually redesignated 16th) Infantry. Their battle flag still existed in the early 20th century, although its present whereabouts is unknown. A written description survives, however. It had a blue field with a red border, and a white Latin cross set in the half nearest the staff. Flags of similar pattern, but varying in the color of borders and cross, were apparently common among Confederate Missouri units, maybe other Trans-Mississippi troops too.

marshalGreg28 Jul 2017 7:56 a.m. PST

Some conclusion of interest from Devereaux Cannon and Howard Michael Madaus, based on research by Greg Biggs, Devereaux Cannon, Kenneth Legendre, and Howard Michael Madaus.

Al-NO- appears to ratified a succession flag. No QTy made so most likely not present in the state troops.

FL-NO-appears to ratified a succession flag. No QTy made so most likely not present in the state troops.

Ga-SORT of/flags with state seal-Did not ratify a flag so to speak like the other states ( over the capital had blue field) but had flags with state seal on various colored fields made for the troops along with the first national provided to them ( two flags present by these units).

La-YES- ratified a succession flag. Known to have units with similar flag made by private sources.

Miss-YES- Ratified a succession flag. Private sources made flags for units in initial call to arms.

NC-YES- ratified a succession flag. Different to today's version of 1885. State Gov. made effort for All units of NC to be provided a state flag with regiment's ID on it in lower portion or some variant. Some lost/captured as late as Gettyburg.

SC-NO- ratified a succession flag made in small qty. Not provided to any units.

TX-YES-Already had flag. Well documented by Hoods brigade of state flag use, with one lost at Antietam.

Va-YES- ratified a succession flag. The state Gov. Made large effort to supply to all Va units to the end of war. State Flags captured through out the war.

This Summarizes things a bit!

Just need some info on how exactly they were presented, later in the war.
@ Manasas they seem to be following the regulation of the militia with the National to the right and state or battle to the the left as the Union units presented through out the war.
I am surprised on the lack of solid reply's or any direction to serious ACW discussion sites like that of Napoleonics, where the scholars reside/ discuss topics, But then again this is only the TMP.

I thank those who present some good source books to look at, for further research!


donlowry28 Jul 2017 9:05 a.m. PST

It had a blue field with a red border, and a white Latin cross set in the half nearest the staff. Flags of similar pattern, but varying in the color of borders and cross, were apparently common among Confederate Missouri units, maybe other Trans-Mississippi troops too.

That was not a state flag as such but the battleflag used by Price's "Army of the West," and still used by Bowen's Brigade at Vicksburg. See "The Battle Flags of the Confederate Army of Tennessee" by Howard Michael Madeus & Robert D. Needham.

attilathepun4728 Jul 2017 10:27 a.m. PST


Not to be argumentative, but I never said it was a "state flag." It seems to me that the main point of discussion here is what flags were carried in action by Confederate troops other than the stereotypical Confederate battle flag that Lee adopted for the Army of Northern Virginia. Such flags may have included official state flags, adaptations of state flags, or completely different designs, as in the case of the Missouri regiments in the C.S.A. Trans-Mississippi Department.

By the way, marshalGreg, you are using the wrong word. Succession refers to the inheritance of a throne by a monarch. Secession is the word you want.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 3:05 p.m. PST

marshalGreg, Attila brings up another point: plenty of references to regimental colors and to pre-war militia colors which were not state flags, and may have been quite a bit more common. If you just want state flags and don't care what the troops were actually carrying, please say so, instead of sniping at us for being "only the TMP."

And for crying out loud, either buy the Osprey or talk to interlibrary loan about it. You can't expect people to do serious research if no one will pay for the results.

TKindred Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2017 6:32 a.m. PST

Start here. Lots of good and solid information for you to work your way through.


donlowry29 Jul 2017 8:24 a.m. PST

Attila: Thanks for not being argumentative.

RudyNelson29 Jul 2017 9:10 a.m. PST

I have to add some facts on the Alabama State flag. As Don said it was different than the one used now which was adopted shortly after reconstruction ended. The Alabama flag was light blue with different designs for each side. The reverse was a cotton plant with a rattle snake by it. The front side was a full length lady liberty holding a flag. The flag that she is holding was the flag theAlabama troops carried into battle as a State flag. It was also light blue with a centered star. The star was Yellow rather than the white that Texas used. To distinguish Alabama units from Florida units who carried a similar flag, the name Alabama was sewn around the top of the flag.
All of this is covered in our Time Portal Passages article on Alabama regimental nick names and recruitment areas.
By the was in 1861 and 1862, most companies arrived at muster locations with unique home sewn flags by the local ladies. Once they deployed to a corps, they were given the corps flag and put their company flags in the baggage wagons and they were used every night to identify the bivouac area for that unit. As can be expected, some camp flags were used longer than others.

marshalGreg31 Jul 2017 7:59 a.m. PST

@ Tkinderd- thanks I had already visitied that one before TMP post.

TO clarify per the reply and find tune what it is I am seeking…I am looking for the unit flags whether state, state plus 1st national, only a silk or a cotton or the 1st bunting, for the units of Jacksons command.
I have run across this one from TMP TMP link

which so far seems to produced solid info (which so far my spot checks have confirmed) and it is a great start and base.

I apologize for my earlier disappointment comments regarding TMP.

I just need now what the Ga ( 14, 35, 45, & 49), Va ( 40, 47, 55 , & 22) and La ( 1st. 2nd, 9th, 10 th, &15th) units of the AP Hill's Light division (missing from that TMP post) flown in the early 1862 campaigns/prior to Sept.
My Leads so far have produced very little.
My speculation is they had not received a silk or cotton ( 12 stars), may have been caring a 1st Nation and or state/militia flag)[and what?] because they received the 2nd bunting ( narrower cross width, white border 4 sides, 13 stars + honors and regt. number) in their initial issue of it and thus strongly suggest this possibility with confirmation of the stonewall brigade known to carry 1st national and or state, receiving the 2nd bunting.
So if they were not with a state and or 1st national… is there anything that may indicate the possibly they had received a 1st bunting like most of Longstreet's men and J Early's brigade of the Jackson Division. Did they then also still carry the state/militia flag as did some units as late as 1863?

@ Robert P
Will the osprey number 3 answer my questions? If someone can make that clear to me I will obtain a copy. That is part of why I bring it up here on TMP!

@ RubyNelson is there any images of this Al flag? I have not seen any reference to such a version so far.


Bill N31 Jul 2017 7:03 p.m. PST

MG-You are looking for certainty on a subject for which there is a good amount of uncertainty.

For example, Michael Hardy who has done some research on Branch's Brigade, A.P. Hill's Light Division has indicated three different theories on the Brigade's flags. One is that the Brigade carried NC state flags until late 1862 when they received third bunting ANV battle flags. One is that the Brigade was issued ANV battle Flags around July 20, 1862. One indicates "battle flags" "were handed out" on June 26, 1862. These earlier would be second bunting. We know Branch's Brigade started out 1862 carrying NC state flags and it joined the ANV in May, 1862. The 33rd lost their state flag at New Bern and the 12th lost a flag at Hanover Junction. Perhaps the June reference is for replacement flags for those units. Perhaps it was returning the unit flags that had been in storage when they moved up from NC and the July reference is for replacement flags for the 12th and 33rd. Or perhaps we have the entire Brigade being issued flags in June and/or July. To add to the fun when Branch was killed supposedly two battle scarred flags were sent south with his body. One might have been his brigade flag which was later found in Winchester VA. Another candidate was a 1st National flag that was supposedly carried by the 33rd NC. Other candidates would be NC state flags still being carried by the brigade. We know that the 22nd NC lost its ANV third bunting battle flag at Gettysburg and carried its state flag until a replacement ANV flag was issued months later.

All of which is probably no help to you. So here is something. Supposedly the flag of company H 40th Virginia (Lancaster Grays) was sent home after Fredricksburg when the company color bearer was killed. A view of that flag can be found here: link There is a second bunting flag for the 47th Virginia on the regiment's wikipedia page, but that seems to be based on the regiment's third bunting flag issued in late 1862 which was captured in July of 1863 at Falling Water.

marshalGreg02 Aug 2017 6:42 a.m. PST

@ BillN
It is not clear of receipt of first bunting.
Units were still receiving cotton as late as April 1862. I appreciate the lead on the 47th VA to help clarify 2nd bunting , which similar to 1st, presence in the field in mid 1863 along side 3rd bunting white the white borders.

Yes precise info is not going to be present but support of general trends seem to be coming to light.

The info on Branch's brigade is very interesting- what was the sources for that? That is my fist brigade I am painting up!


Bill N02 Aug 2017 2:11 p.m. PST

Some of the info for Branch's brigade came from Michael Hardy's blog found here:

The information on the 22nd and 33rd NC flags came from sites which discuss those specific state flags that you can find through Google. There is also information online for other NC state flags as well. A number of these flags are in the possession of the NC History Museum.

I could not find the my original source for the flag of the 12th, but in looking stumbled on that flag in The Flags of Civil War North Carolina. It was a company flag for the Cleveland Guards, company E, 12th NC and can be found here: link

While not necessarily helpful for your question, there is also the online collection of flags for the Museum of the Confederacy. PDF link

If you can find some good online sources, please post them here for the rest of us.

marshalGreg04 Aug 2017 8:24 a.m. PST

@ Bill N
Thanks for the leads!


RudyNelson15 Aug 2017 5:07 p.m. PST

MG, there are plenty of examples. Many are in the archive department at Montgomery.
Some have been shown on covers of books or in flag sections.
I also have a 1961 Centennial road map laminated that I used in the class room.
One one side is a regular current (1960) road map and on the other are every Union raid route traced through the State if you wanted to ride it on a Sunday.
On that side was also versions of the State flag.
I have seen at least two versions of the reverse of the flag (the side with the cotton plant and rattlesnake) and the snake is coiled in one and crawling in one.

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