Stuff I Didn’t Know About The Confederate Flag
This was not the flag of the Confederate States of America. It is a mixture of the square battle flag used by the Army of Northern Virginia under General Lee and a naval flag. It was never flown by the CSA.
Actual Flags of the Confederate States of America
The first flag looked like this. It was adopted in 1861. It was designed by German artist Nicola Marschall, who also designed the Confederate soldiers’ uniforms, This is the one that was actually called “The Stars and Bars.” Not the other one.
The second flag of 1863 integrated the battle flag. It was called “The Stainless Banner” and was designed by William T. Thompson, a newspaper editor in Savannah. The word stainless referred to the large white section. Thompson said the white section symbolized the “supremacy of the white man.”
The third flag of 1865 was called “The Blood-Stained Banner.” It was introduced after Confederate officers ironically complained that The Stainless Banner was “too white” and looked like a flag of surrender when waving on the battlefields. Few of these third flags were produced before the Confederates did indeed surrender.
Later Popularization of the Rebel Flag
What’s now called “The Confederate Flag” or “The Rebel Flag” is a mixture of the battle flag’s colors with the Second Confederate Navy Jack flag design (see above). It didn’t become popular until the 20th century. It was revitalized in part by its use by the Ku Klux Klan starting in 1949 and the Dixiecrats in 1948.
The Dixiecrats (formally known as the States’ Rights Democratic Party) were a segregationist wing of the Democratic Party that existed for just one year. Formed to fight against the nascent Civil Rights Movement, they opposed racial integration and wanted to retain Jim Crow laws and white supremacy in the face of possible federal intervention. They nominated South Carolina Governor J. Strom Thurmond as their presidential candidate.
Where Do You Even Buy These Things?
Being a Northerner (despite a few years in the South; ask me about that later), I’ve always been curious as to where one would go to buy a Confederate flag of any form. Who makes these? Who sells them?
Turns out, lots of places. Most of the flags appear to be manufactured in China and Taiwan, with a few vendors making them in the U.S.A. If you’d like to stop by and say howdy to any of these retailers, here are their Twitter accounts. I’m not interested in linking to their sites directly for obvious reasons.