Confederate Battle Flags

The Stars and Bars soon proved unpopular as a national flag and impractical for Confederate regiments to carry in battle. Its resemblance to the United States’ national flag caused Confederate forces to adopt a variety of unique battle flags. Different Confederate commands adopted different patterns, so there were many different Confederate battle flags.

One of those battle flags was the blue diagonal cross pattern on a square flag distributed in late 1861 to the units of what became General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia (ANV). As the flag of the Confederacy’s most successful army, the ANV battle flag came to represent the Confederate States at home and abroad.

Army of Northern Virginia battle flag
The wartime ANV battle flag was square, not rectangular like most modern versions of the familiar pattern. This flag likely belonged to the 11th Virginia.
ACWM Collections, WD 322

Hardee pattern battle flag

The Hardee pattern, with a blue field and large white circle in the center, flew over Confederate soldiers under General William Hardee’s command in the Army of Tennessee. This flag used by the 34th Mississippi.
ACWM Collections, WD 95

Van Dorn pattern battle flag The Van Dorn pattern, with a red field, crescent moon and thirteen stars, was carried by Confederate regiments in the command of General Earl Van Dorn in the western theater. This flag likely used by the 4th Missouri.
ACWM Collections, 0985.8.14