Texas Division
United Daughters of the Confederacy®

First National Flag


ADOPTION OF THE "STARS & BARS"

The original flag of the Confederate States of America, commonly known as the "STARS AND BARS", was approved by the Congress of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States, and first hoisted over the capitol building in Montgomery, Alabama, on the afternoon of the 4th day of March, 1861. Congress did not adopted a formal Act codifying this flag, but it is described in the Report of the Committee on Flag and Seal, in the following language:

"The flag of the Confederate States of America shall consist of a red field with a white space extending horizontally through the center, and equal in width to one-third the width of the flag. The red space above and below to be the same width as the white. The union blue extending down through the white space and stopping at the lower red space. In the center of the union a circle of white stars corresponding in number with the States in the Confederacy."

The first flag was raised over the capitol in Montgomery by Miss Letitia Christian Tyler, the granddaughter of President John Tyler.

This new flag spread quickly in use across the South, even beyond the borders of the seven States of the CSA. The official version was to have the stars in a circle, with the number corresponding to the States actually admitted to the Confederacy. Thus, there would have been 7 stars from 4 March 1861 until 7 May 1861, when Virginia became the 8th Confederate State by Act of Congress. Thereafter, the number of stars continued to increase until Tennessee gained her seat as the 11th State on 2 July 1861. The number remained 11 through the summer, but increased when Missouri and Kentucky were admitted to the CSA by Acts of Congress approved 28 November 1861 and 10 December 1861, respectively.

Despite the official pattern and numbers, however, individual examples of the Stars and Bars varied greatly, with numbers of stars ranging from 1 to 17, and star patterns varying greatly beyond the officially sanctioned circle.

Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr.

Correct Use of the Confederate Flags
Flags of the Confederacy