From the “Stars and Bars” to the “Southern Cross” states across the South still echo the old icons of the Confederacy in their flags even as a growing backlash calls for the removal of the historical banners of the CSA.
Battle flag of the Confederacy
The battle flag of the Confederacy is probably the most identifiable symbol of the Confederate States of America, and has been incorporated into numerous other flags and emblems – but is only one of several official flags of the rebellion.
At the beginning of the rebellion, many Confederate states adopted the "Bonnie Blue" flag, a five-pointed star on a blue field, as the unofficial flag of the Confederacy.
The official flags
The first official flag of the Confederacy
The "stars and bars" looked similar to the star-spangled banner of the U.S. Originally including seven stars representing the Confederate states, it would eventually have a field of 13, and then be abandoned in 1863.
Second and third official flags
In May of 1863, the second flag of the Confederacy was adopted, incorporating the "Southern Cross" of the battle flag on a white field.
In 1865, a red stripe was added to the outside edge of the flag to avoid the appearance of white flag of surrender.
Current use by states
With the push to remove the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina capitol grounds, several other Southern flags have begun to draw attention for their use of imagery from various symbols of the Confederacy.
The Mississippi flag incorporates the famous "Southern Cross" of the Confederate battle flag in a manner very similar to the second and third flags of the CSA.
The current Georgian flag, adopted in 2003, is modeled after the the first official flag of the CSA, replacing previous uses of the "Southern Cross"
After the prominent "Southern Cross" drew criticism, Georgia changed its flag to feature the state seal, though retained a smaller depiction of the earlier flag below.
During the civil rights period, Georgia adopted a flag combining a large "Southern Cross" with the state seal.
In 1924, Arkansas added a fourth blue star, placed above the middle of the state's name, to its flag to represent the CSA.
Designed by a former Confederate soldier in 1885, the current North Carolina flag replaced a white star on a red field with a design closer to the "Bonnie Blue" flag.
St. Andrew's Cross
The red saltire, or cross, resembles the pattern used in the Confederate battle flag and may have been adopted in homage to it in two states.
Records from Alabama indicate the flag was designed by a Confederate soldier in imitation of the battle standard.
Following Alabama, Florida adopted the same cross pattern but the origin is less clear. The cross also resembles the 16th century flag of the Spanish Empire, the first Western ruling power the state had.