|UNUSUAL CONFEDERATE FLAG IN THE THIRD NATIONAL FORMAT, PRINTED ON HEAVY WEIGHT PARCHMENT, PROBABLY PRODUCED BETWEEN 1884 AND 1910, IN THE EARLIEST PERIOD OF THE UDC AND THE UCV
|Frame Size (H x L):
|22.25" x 32.25"
|Flag Size (H x L):
|14.75" x 24.5"
|This very unusual and particularly beautiful Confederate parade flag, in the third national format, was block-printed on heavy, multi-layer parchment. Having a particular interest in printed paper parade flags and similar ephemera, I pay close attention to objects of this nature and have owned many varieties. American national flags were produced in paper form for a host of intentions, not only as parade flags, but for newspaper inserts, broadsides and leaflets, ballots, covers, postcards, and the like. Confederate flags are rare on paper and I have not before encountered an example like this one, nor anything similar to it within surviving Southern material, so comparisons within that realm are difficult. Nonetheless the printing and construction bear some relationship to patriotic and other American ephemera of the 45-star era (1896-1907), and a somewhat looser association with paper menus printed on flags made of tissue paper between 1876 and the 1880's.
This particular paper flag would likely have been made for use by either the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), which was established in 1884 (pre-dating the organizations populated by men), or the United Confederate Veterans (UCV), which formed in 1889 and served as the primary post-war organization for Confederate soldiers. The women came first because it was safer for them to organize.
Note the attractive shades of scarlet red and royal blue complement the white parchment, which is attractively oxidized. The oversized center star is rare in Confederate flag design and generally indicative of the 19th century in American flags of any kind. This provides for a visual statement that is both rare and particularly bold among its early counterparts. The large star is upright, with a single point oriented in the 12:00 position, but note how the 12 smaller stars that flank it diagonally on each side are, in groups of 3, oriented in 4 different positions on their vertical axis. Based on a combination of design, construction, and what is known about surviving Confederate objects of the reunion era, this flag was probably produced between 1884 and the first decade of the 20th century.
The Confederacy had three successive national designs, of which this was the last, in official use for just 36 days before Lee's surrender at Appomattox. In spite of this fact, the Third National format somehow gained popularity during the reunion era. Because of the graphic qualities of this particular flag, and because it was made early in the reunion era, it is an especially nice example.
Brief History of Confederate Flag Design:
For those unfamiliar with the history of the various designs of Confederate flag, know that the most commonly recognized style, with 13 stars upon St. Andrew's Cross, was not actually one of the three successive national flags of the Confederate States of America. Nor was it the flag commonly known as the "Stars & Bars." Despite the fact that it prominently displays both of these features, that was the nickname of the First National Flag of the Confederacy, which initially had a blue canton, like the Stars & Stripes, with a wreath of 7 white stars, and a field of just three horizontal stripes—termed "bars"—in the order of red, white red. Later examples may include up to 13 stars, officially, though other, unofficial examples are known with greater star counts.
The Stars & Bars was so similar to the Stars & Stripes that it led to great confusion on battlefields, laden with the smoke of black powder. For this reason, the Second National Confederate design was adopted on May 26th, 1863. Nicknamed the "Stainless Banner," this was white in color, with the Southern Cross serving as the canton in place of the blue field with stars. Soldiers and officers disliked this design, because it looked too much like a surrender flag, and, if given the opportunity--or so the story goes--would dip the end in blood.
36 days before the war's end a red vertical bar was added at the fly end to create a third national pattern. how if one were to take the Third National pattern and add a blue vertical bar at the fly end, replacing the Southern Cross and the white field below it, the result would be the French tri-color (the national flag of France). Major Arthur Rogers, who redesigned the flag, noted the inadequacies of the Stainless Banner as a military signal and described this new version as having "as little as possible of the Yankee blue."
General Joe Johnston became the first Confederate officer to approve what would become generically known as the "Confederate Battle Flag" in the fall of 1861. The term is misleading, because it was not the battle flag of every unit. It was, however, carried by many units, with much variation, and by some within all Confederate States. Johnson's approval followed the suggestion of General P.G.T. Beauregard, who complained to Confederate government that the First Confederate National Flag, (a.k.a., the Stars & Bars,) looked too much like the Stars & Stripes. Beauregard's request was denied, but after conferring with Johnston and General G.W. Smith, Johnston approved use of the Southern Cross as the Confederate battle flag at the field level. It was Johnston's own orders that led to the manufacture of the first silk examples, in 1861, sewn by ladies in Richmond, for use by the Army of the Potomac, and then to the flags made for General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia battle flags, issued in 1862.
Mounting: The solid walnut molding has ebonized trim and dates to the period between 1860 and 1880. This is a sandwich-mount between 100% hemp fabric and U.V. protective acrylic.
Condition: There is moderate overall oxidation and foxing. There is a lateral tear at the fly end measuring approximately 4" in length. There is a minor lateral tear in the canton along the hoist end and there are minor bumps and losses elsewhere along the perimeter. There is minor fading throughout, accompanied by minor stains and minor to moderate oxidation.
|Intermediate-Level Collectors and Special Gifts
|Earliest Date of Origin:
|Latest Date of Origin:
|1861-1865 Civil War
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