Thursday, July 9, 2009

Heritage? Hate? Or just plain Ignorance?

So I saw a post debating heritage or hate in regards to the 'rebel' flag. This just happens to be a pet peeve of mine, so I decided to make a post about it, and see if I couldn't spread the word just a little bit. I'm going to use some images gathered from around teh web, as I can't seem to find my own image files for flags, but will credit them where linked.

This was the first 'Official' flag of the Confederacy. It was called the Stars and Bars, for what I assume are obvious reasons. In some battles, it became difficult to distinguish between Union troops and Confederate troops based solely on the flags flying above the units because of the similarity between the Stars and Stripes, and the Stars and Bars. Hence the need was felt to design a new flag that did not so closely resemble the flag of the Union armies.

This flag, which was the second 'Official' flag of the Confederacy, was called the Stainless. Because of the great expanse of pure white cloth(hence the name) it was sometimes confused with a flag of parley or surrender on the battlefield, especially when there was no wind blowing, and the flag would hang limp. This was also thought to be a bad thing, and so it was decided to alter the design a bit to prevent that confusion.

This flag, was meant to be the third 'official' flag of the confederacy, but was never ratified and adopted by the Confederate congress, the war having ended before such resolution could be brought to the floor for a vote.

Those are the only flags of the Confederacy, in the big sense. There were other flags, that people try to point to as Confederate flags, but in reality, while they may have been flags of confederate units, they were not flags of the Confederacy.

I'm sure you all recognize this one. No, it's not the flag of the Confederacy, but is in fact, the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. The colors are a bit off in this jpeg. The red should be darker, more blood-like, almost a burgundy color. If my research is correct, this flag was always limned(out-lined) either with a white border for battlefield use, or with fancy gold for presentations.

Now this is the one that causes so much controversy. The colors here are, once again, a bit off. The blue is about right, but could be a tad lighter, and the red should have a more orange tone to it. This flag is, also, not the Confederate Flag, however, it was a Confederate Naval Jack. So it was a small flag, for a unit of the Confederacy, not the flag for everyone. I have seen a reference that states a flag of this design and proportion, scaled up to about a three by five foot size, and using the colors of the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, was flown by a single regiment based out of Tennessee, in the last days of the Civil War. I've not been able to track down any more specific information, but then again, I don't spend a lot of time looking either :p

So, the flag people are yelling is heritage not hate, is probably not a whole lot of heritage. Unless of course, you happen to be descended from a veteran of the Confederate Navy. It has definitely been used as a symbol of hate in the past, and some still try to use it for that purpose today. However, it's mainly just a symbol of ignorance, because in this day and age, it shouldn't take anyone more than about two minutes to determine that it is not, and has never been, the Flag of the Confederacy.

If you truly want to honor Confederate heritage, then fly the Stars and Bars, or the Stainless, but waiving around an oversized naval jack is just ignorant.


PS - All jpegs came from


Rev. Paul said...

I had seen the various versions of those flags before, but you're the first to explain who used them, and when. Thank you.

Front Porch Society said...

I am well aware of what the original first design of the Confederate flag is. But I also descend from the line of the Confederate Naval Jacks as you put it.

Either way, I have every right to fly whatever flag I want to.

Casey said...

"Either way, I have every right to fly whatever flag I want to."

You certainly have the right to fly any flag that you wish to. I would never tell someone they couldn't fly a specific flag. My comments are mostly directed at those who fly the Naval Jack, and claim that it is the "Confederate Flag", and they're just honoring they're Confederate heritage.

In general, it's just not true. The majority who wave that flag and talk about the Confederacy would never spend the time required to trace their roots back to a confederate ancestor, and thus to a specific unit, or regimental flag.

Kudos to you for doing so, and honoring your true heritage.


Front Porch Society said...

Yes, it is true many do not know the true flag of the confederate army and many do not care. It is too bad.