“The” Confederate Flag

13 05 2010

Friend Tom Clemens gives a quick lesson on Confederate flags:

In case you’re wondering, the Confederate flag in use at First Bull Run was the First National.  The Battle Flag didn’t come into existence until after the battle.  It’s possible that some units had Bonnie Blue flags, but I’ve seen no positive evidence of that.

Hat tip to Kevin.

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6 responses

13 05 2010
Chris Evans

Have you found many first person accounts in your reading on First Bull Run talking about the confusion caused by the similarity between the First National flag and the United States flag?

13 05 2010
Harry Smeltzer


Yes, I believe I’ve seen a few, though most of the confusion centered on uniforms. That is to say, I’ve seen reports I think claiming that Confederates carried Stars and Stripes to confuse their opponents. But specifically mentioning the similarity of the two flags, I don’t recall. At least not a BR.

14 05 2010
Chris Evans

That’s interesting that the uniforms were the bigger issue. It’s like in the Steven Spielberg produced TV movie ‘Class of ’61’ showing the 33rd Virginia ,dressed in blue uniforms, wiping out the gunners of Rickett’s battery because the superior officers won’t let Rickett’s turn the guns on what he believes are Union troops.

First Bull Run had such a profusion of different flags and uniforms that it must have been insanely chaotic, as most writers state.


13 05 2010
Larry Freiheit

Thanks for the link; great presentation by Tom. The library shelves in the background are really very neat–I wonder if it is at HCC, Tom’s office there at HCC or his home? I wish my library was as organized.


14 05 2010
Larry Freiheit

I recall I was there at HCC visiting Tom reading Carmn letters the day when Stephen and Tom did this lesson so it was either done in Stephen’s office or an HCC library.

2 06 2010
Brian Dembinski

I’d like to add that while the Confederate Navy Jack was rectangular, the blue on it was normally much lighter than that of the battle flag. Otherwise it was a good representation of the Confederate flags. Thanks for posting this.

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