|FIRST NATIONAL PATTERN CONFEDERATE FLAG (a.k.a., STARS & BARS) OF THE REUNION ERA, IN THE ORIGINAL, OFFICIAL DESIGN, WITH A CIRCULAR WREATH OF 7 STARS, MADE ca 1910-1930
|Frame Size (H x L):||Approx. 43" x 62"|
|Flag Size (H x L):||31.25" x 50.25"|
|Confederate flag in the 1st National design, with 7 stars arranged in a circular wreath. This was the first official adopted by the Confederate Congress on March 4th, 1861, when in session at the temporary capitol of Montgomery, Alabama. The star count reflects the initial wave of secession, which had occurred approximately one month prior, on February 7th, in conjunction with the adoption of a provisional constitution. As more states seceded, more stars were added, with a total of 11 officially seceding by way of popular vote, followed by ratification of the respective state legislatures. The States of Missouri and Kentucky were also sometimes included, for a grand total of 13. The later were accepted by Confederate President Jefferson Davis, despite their being Border States with divided views and less formal achievement of secession.
The First National is the flag also known as the "Stars & Bars." Because they were so alike, use of the Stars & Stripes and the Stars & Bars on the same smoke-laden battlefields created great confusion. For this reason, the Second National Confederate Flag was adopted on May 26th, 1863. It was white in color, with the Southern Cross (the Confederate battle flag) serving as its canton. Soldiers and officers alike disliked this design because it looked too much like a surrender flag, and, so the story goes, if given the opportunity, would dip the end in blood to provide color.
36 days before the war’s end a red vertical bar was added at the fly end and the result became the third national design. This was the “blood stained banner”, but officially it did not represent blood, but rather paid homage to the French, which lent aid to the South during the war. Note how if you were to replace the first third of the flag with a blue vertical bar, the result would be the French tri-color, the national flag of France.
The Southern Cross battle flag, or the "Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia," as it is often called, was put into use more quickly than the adoption of the Second National Confederate design and was carried simultaneously by various Confederate units for the remainder of the war. The purpose was the same. It was a better signal, being distinctly different than the Stars & Stripes.
Many people are surprised to learn that the Southern Cross, by itself, was not the national flag of the Confederate States of America. Officially, in rectangular format, it served as the Confederate Navy Jack. In square format it came to be called “the battle flag”, partly because it was carried for that purpose by both Lee and Beauregard’s Armies, and others. It also received widespread love in the South because the Second and Third National designs were not particularly admired by Confederate soldiers, the Second for reasons previously stated and the Third because the design was so short-lived.
Construction: The flag is made entirely of plain weave cotton. The canton and bars are pieced with machine stitching. The 13 stars are double-appliquéd (applied to both sides) with a zigzag machine stitch. There is a binding along the hoist with 2 white metal grommets, along which "2 1/2 x 4" was stenciled, on the obverse, near the top, to indicate size in feet.
Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by expert staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples.
The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color. The mount was placed in a black-painted molding with a wood grained surface, to which a rippled profile molding, black with gold highlights, was added as a liner. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass.
Condition: The canton has faded, due to both exposure and a fugitive dye. There are a few tiny holes in the canton. An fabric underlay of similar coloration was placed behind these areas during the mounting process. There is minor to modest foxing and staining in the white bar and there is a tiny nick in the lower, fly-end corner of the red bar. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
|Collector Level:||Beginners and Holiday Gift Giving|
|Flag Type:||Sewn flag|
|Earliest Date of Origin:||1910|
|Latest Date of Origin:||1930's|
|War Association:||1861-1865 Civil War|