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Flags of the Confederacy

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Civil War Era Flags pictured on this page are available for purchase from my friends at U.S. Flag Depot, Inc.

The First Official Flag of the Confederacy. Although less well known thanthe 'Confederate Battle Flags',the Stars and Bars was used asthe 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 theStars and Stripesof the Union. Consequently, considerable confusion was caused on the battlefield.

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The seven starsrepresent 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).

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

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 waseasily mistaken for a white flag of surrender especially when the air was calm andthe 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 representedby two of the stars.

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

Confederate Navy Jack: Used as a navy jack at sea from 1863 onward. This flaghas become the generally recognized symbol of the South.

Note: It is necessary to disclaim any connection of these flags toneo-nazis, red-necks, skin-heads and the like. These groups haveadopted this flag and desecrated it by their acts. They have no rightto use this flag - it is a flag of honor, designed by the confederacyas a banner representing state's rights and still revered by the South.In fact, under attack, it still flies over the South Carolina capitolbuilding. The South denies any relation to these hate groups anddenies them the right to use the flags of the confederacy for anypurpose. The crimes committed by these groups under the stolen bannerof the conderacy only exacerbate the lies which link the seccesion toslavery interests when, from a Southerner's view, the cause was state'srights.

Note contributed by BJ Meksikatsi.

by Robert E. Lee

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After four years of arduous service, markedby unsurpassed courage and fortitude, theArmy of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers andresources.

I need not tell the survivors of so manyhard-fought battles who have remainedsteadfast to the last that I have consented tothis result from no distrust of them; butfeeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for theloss that would have attended the continuance of the contest, I determined to avoid theuseless sacrifice of those whose past serviceshave endeared them to their countrymen. Bythe terms of the agreement, officers and mencan return to their homes and remain untilexchanged.

You may take with you the satisfaction thatproceeds from the consciousness of dutyfaithfully performed, and I earnestly praythat a merciful God will extend to you hisblessing and protection.

With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country, and agrateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration of myself, I bid you all anaffectionate farewell.

The Character of Lee

by John Williams Jones

He possessed every virtue ofthe great commanders,without their vices. He was afoe without hate; a friendwithout treachery; a privatecitizen without wrong; aneighbor without reproach;a Christian withouthypocrisy, and a manwithout guilt.He was a Caesar without hisambition; a Frederickwithout his tyranny; aNapoleon without hisselfishness; and aWashington without hisreward.He was obedient toauthority as a servant, andloyal in authority as a trueking.He was gentle as a woman inlife; modest and pure as avirgin in thought; watchfulas a Roman vestal in duty;submissive to law asSocrates, and grand inbattle as Achilles.

by Louis Redmond

Even among the free, it is not always easy tolive together. There came a time, less than ahundred years ago, when the people of thiscountry disagreed so bitterly among themselves that some of them felt they could notgo on living with the rest.

A test of arms was made to decide whetherAmericans should remain one nation or become two. The armies of those who believedin two nations were led by a man namedRobert E. Lee.

What about Lee? What kind of man was hewho nearly split the history of the UnitedStates down the middle and made two separate books of it?

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They say you had to see him to believe thata man so fine could e,xist. He was handsome.He was clever. He was brave. He was gentle.He was generous and charming, noble andmodst, admired and beloved. He had neverfailed at anything in his upright soldier's life.He was a born winner, this Robert E. Lee.Except for once. In the greatest contest of hislife, in the war beween the South and theNorth, Robert E. Lee lost.

Now there were men who came withsmouldering eyes to Lee and said: 'Let's notaccept this result as final. Let's keep ouranger alive. Let's be grim and unconvinced,and wear our bitterness like a medal. You canbe our leader in this.'

But Lee shook his head at those men.'Abandon your animosities,' he said, 'andmake your sons Americans.'

And what did he do himself when his warwas lost? He took a job as president of a tinycollege, with forty students and four profes-sors, at a salary of $1500 a year. He hadcommanded thousands of young men inbattle. Now he wanted to prepare a few hun-dred of them for the duties of peace. So thecountrymen of Robert E. Lee saw how a bornwinner loses, and it seemed to them that indefeat he won his most lasting victory.

There is an art of losing, and Robert E. Leeis its finest teacher. In a democracy, whereopposing viewpoints regularly meet for a testof ballots, it is good for all of us to know howto lose occasionally, how to yield peacefully,for the sake of freedom. Lee is our master inthis. The man who fought against the Unionshowed us what unity means.

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