Tuesday, April 23, 2013

150-years-ago -- Confederate Flag and Seal

The Richmond Daily Dispatch
April 24, 1863

Second National Confederate Flag
(Naval History & Heritage Command )

          The Senate committee, it is understood, has completed their designs of the flag and seal for the Confederacy. The flag is a white field with the well known battle flag of the Army of the Potomac, (Gen. Johnston's flag) in a square of blue at the upper corner, near the staff, and a blue horizontal bar across the centre. 
          Willing to accept almost anything in preference to the present despised parody upon the Yankee flag, we should yet prefer the battle flag itself to the modification of it proposed by the committee. At the beginning of the war, owing to the close resemblance between the Confederate and Federal flags, each party often accused the other of the fraud of holding its eugenicist's flag for the purpose of deception.

Gen. Joseph E. Johnston
         Both parties were mistaken, and each was possibly deluded by the mistake into some unfortunate movement. Gen. Johnston was so thoroughly convinced of the danger of going into battle with a flag too much like that of the enemy that he caused to be adopted in the field the well known battle flag — illustrious for the many victories was beneath its folds. 
          It is simple, neat, and very distinct from a long distance. It answers the purpose of a flag very well, is easily made, and is not obnoxious to any serious objection. We are sure the conflicting counsels of a body of men not deeply skilled in heraldry, will not produce anything too appropriate, and likely to engross to much the public approval and love as the Potomac battle flag. 
         A great many battles must be fought, and a great many victories must be won under another to make it so famous. The change made by the committee is no improvement of it. We trust that at least the blue bar across the committee's flag may be stricken out by Congress. 
         Let us be done with the bar at all events. It would be grateful to the nation, we are sure, if all parties would compromise on the glorious battle flag. It is already consecrated by our best blood, and many of the most brilliant victories in the annuals of war. 
         It should, therefore, be cherished with affection. How can we discard it? With what feeling can we lay it away in the archives as a moment of the nation's glory? Can we hide it away from the eyes of the people! Do what we will with it, it is hardly probable that the army will give it up.
         Congressmen may suggest variations upon it, or may distaste a new banner to the veterans of so many bloody fields; but they will not abandon the flag they have fought and conquered under, and which they have learned to love as the emblem of their triumphs. It must indeed be something better than any yet devised that could reduce them from this invincible battle flag.
        The seal represents the equestrian statue of Washington, after that on the Capitol Square, with appropriate bordering and back ground, and the motto, "Deo duc vincimus" which in English, freely rendered, is, "God being with us, we will conquer." The people care less about the seal than the flag; and we suppose there will be no objection to this. It will certainly be satisfactory in so far as it contains the figure of Washington.
        The Congress has been too long in the making of the flag, certainly. It is to be hoped they will now settle both questions of flag and seal, and end debate about them.
Great Seal of the Confederate States of America
(Georgia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans)

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