Great Seal of the Confederacy

Physical Description
Medal with an equestrian portrait of George Washington, surrounded by a wreath composed of the principal agricultural products of the Confederacy including cotton, tobacco, sugar cane, wheat, and rice. Embossed around the edge, "The Confederate States of America: 22 February, 1862" and the motto Deo Vindice, or "God will vindicate." The medal rests in a wooden box covered in leather and lined in maroon velvet and green simulated watered silk.
General History
The date on the Confederate Seal commemorates the inauguration of Jefferson Davis as president of the Confederate States, and the establishment of the permanent government of the Confederate States of America in Richmond, Virginia. When the seal was completed, it was delivered to James Mason, a confidential agent of the Confederacy in England. He selected Lieutenant R. T. Chapman of the Confederate navy to bring it to America. In order to avoid the naval blockade, Lt. Chapman was forced to take a long and circuitous route. He went from England to Halifax, Nova Scotia, then to the island of Bermuda, and finally to Wilmington, North Carolina. When the Confederate government evacuated Richmond in April of 1865, Mrs. William J. Bromwell, the wife of an official of the Confederate State Department, smuggled the seal from the doomed city. Together with an important part of the Confederate archives, the seal was hidden from federal forces in a barn near Richmond. It eventually made its way into the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, where it can be seen today.
overall: 10 in x 5 in x 1 in; 25.4 cm x 12.7 cm x 2.54 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
U.S. General Services Administration. National Archives and Records Service
related event
Civil War
Civil War and Reconstruction
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
Coins, Currency and Medals
The Price of Freedom: Americans at War
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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