Confederate Battle Flag

Physical Description
Red, white, and blue cloth.
General History
The Confederate battle flag was born of necessity after the Battle of Bull Run. Amid the smoke and general chaos of battle, it was hard to distinguish the Confederate national flag, the “Stars and Bars," from the U. S. national flag, the "Stars and Stripes.” Confederate Congressman William Porcher Miles suggested that the army have a distinct battle flag. General Pierre T. Beauregard chose a variation on the cross of St. Andrew. The battle flag features a blue cross, edged with a white band on a red field. There are three stars on each arm of the cross and one star in the center. The stars represented each of the states of the Confederacy, plus one. Beauregard was betting that one of the states with pro-Confederacy leanings, Maryland, Kentucky, or Missouri, would join the Southern cause. That never happened, but the flag remained the same for the remainder of the war.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
associated date
Physical Description
wool (overall material)
overall: 48 in x 48 in; 121.92 cm x 121.92 cm
associated place
United States: Pennsylvania, Gettysburg
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Civil War
Battle of Gettysburg, 1863
Civil War and Reconstruction
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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