The Order of Confederate Colors (Revision)
Knights of the Golden Circle, KGC Information Exchange, December 1, 2008
"Mr. Miles was not observant of flags adopted at the very time he
worked on the Confederate flag committee but as Confederates we must
not allow past or present sentimentality of union to obscure issues
for sake of peace on New England terms."
New York Times, 1896: "The Confederate Convention. Richmond Filling
with People Who Will Attend It. RICHMOND, Va., June 29.--Richmond is
all ready for the sixth annual reunion of the United Confederate
Veterans, which commences here to-morrow, continuing three days, and
winding up Thursday afternoon with a grand parade and the ceremonies
incident to the laying of the cornerstone of the Jefferson Davis
Monument. On regular and special trains Confederate camps, troops,
delegations, and unattached visitors are pouring into the city, and by
to-morrow morning the accommodations of Virginia's capital will be
pressed to their utmost capacity.
Along the line of march of Thursdays' procession the stores and
residences are beautifully decorated, as are buildings in various
other parts of the city. The CONFEDERATE COLORS predominate, but the
National colors are also largely in evidence. Nearly every man,
woman, and child one meets wears a Confederate button."
Red, White and Blue. We choose what we see through many years of
learning another way so we honestly want to see something like
Confederate colors as red, white and blue. Logic should tell us the
Confederacy would not choose new emblems from flag to Great Seal and
allow the old colors of union to remain--Britain and the first
Many Confederate pre-flag examples (with horizontal stripes) prior to
the adoption of the Stars and Bars showed an order of color in blue,
white and red. This information from the very first Confederate flag
considerations is revealing: "Submitted by 'A Gentleman of Louisville,
Kentucky.' This is a design theme which will be seen in a number of
submissions. The colors of the U.S. Stars and Stripes are reversed.
The 'gentleman' says that the 7 BLUE STRIPES REPRESENTED THE FIRST
SEVEN States forming the CSA. The number of white stars is to increase
as new States join the CSA." --
In the formation of the "Republic of Louisiana" (February 11, 1861)
was the adoption of their own flag: "We, the people of the State of
Louisiana in convention assembled, do ordain and establish that the
flag of the State of Louisiana shall consist and be composed of
thirteen horizontal stripes of the colors hereinafter described, and
to be disposed in the following order, commencing from the upper line
or edge of the flag, to wit: the first stripe BLUE; second, WHITE;
third, RED; fourth, white; fifth, BLUE; sixth, WHITE; seventh, RED;
eighth, white; ninth, BLUE; tenth, WHITE; eleventh, RED; twelfth,
white; and the thirteenth, or bottom stripe, BLUE. We do further
ordain and establish that there shall be in the upper or chief corner
of the flag, a square field, the color whereof shall be red; and the
sides therefor equal to the width of seven stripes, and that in the
center of said field there shall be a star of due proportionate size,
having five points or rays; and that the color of the said star shall
be a paile yellow. We do further ordain and establish that the said
flag, and no other, shall be the NATIONAL flag of the State of Louisiana."
The current Stars and Bars pattern of the Mississippi flag, with
battle flag in canton, is also a living reminder of the Confederate
order of colors as its top to bottom bars feature blue, white and red
(the Stars and Bars is not the St. Andrew's "X" as commonly
misrepresented). In 1892, Mississippi chose a hybrid flag of the
First National and Stainless Banner but a wartime example that can be
seen at the Alabama state museum in Montgomery. Unlike the
Confederate example of Stars and Bars (red, white then red) and St.
Andrew's or Jacob's cross in canton, Mississippi's design shows bars
top to bottom of BLUE, WHITE and RED.
The description of Mississippi's flag recommended by the joint
legislative committee was: "One with width two-thirds of its length,
with the union square in width, two-thirds of the width of the flag;
the ground of the union to be red and a broad blue saltier thereon
bordered with white and emblazoned with thirteen (13) mullets or
five-pointed stars, corresponding to the number of the original States
of the Union; the field to be divided into three bars of equal width,
the upper one BLUE, the center one WHITE, the lower one RED; THE
NATIONAL COLORS; the staff surmounted with a spear-head and battle-axe
below; the flag to be fringed with gold, and the staff gilded with gold."
Appearing in the Austin State Gazette, March 23, 1861, p.1, c.5, "The
Confederate Congress, The Flag of the Confederacy" is reported, "The
three colors of which it is composed, red, white and blue, are the
true Republican colors." Much credit is given Mr. Miles' statement of
colors than good research will allow and an even stronger set of
evidence indicates Confederate colors were something else. Even
though an order of colors appears to have been stated in proposal, the
Confederate Congress did not formally adopt the Stars and Bars by vote
says one source. Another states the flag was adopted on March 4, 1861
but an Order of Confederate colors had already been set in motion and
followed through with even decades later.
Going back to the Gazette article, "Your committee, therefore,
recommend that 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 of the width of
the flag; the red spaces, above and below, to be of 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
The Stars and Bars flag of Dixie did not have "three bars" heraldry
would recognise. Three bars on a field of red results in a horizontal
order of red, WHITE BAR, red, WHITE BAR, red, WHITE BAR and such would
be three bars on a field of red. The current Mississippi flag of
BLUE, WHITE and RED lends itself more properly to division and not of
a color upon which rests a bar (in this case a heraldry fess). The
trouble Mr. Miles had was the new flag had an order of colors that
followed an Austrian division from top to bottom of RED, WHITE and RED
with a smaller blue canton of stars as an addition. Red would seem a
natural first expression of color by quantity and those later naming
the "Stars and Bars" were not men of true heraldry.
The proposal again, "The three colors of which it is composed, red,
white and blue, ARE THE TRUE REPUBLICAN COLORS." What were "true
Republican colors" but those of the U.S.A. which makes Miles'
statement out to be what it was--a political statement of posturing.
Oh, the sentimentality of a politician--but his view of colors was not
shared his own Committee associates proposing other Confederate flags
of stars and BLUE stripes where stripes represented the first seceded
states of Dixie. Mr. Miles also appears to have ignored an Order of
Colors discussed among individual states ratifying their own
banners--Louisiana's passage on February 11, 1861 in horizontal
stripes of that time in BLUE, WHITE and RED as good example. Mr.
Miles was not observant of flags adopted at the very time he worked on
the Confederate flag committee but as Confederates we must not allow
past or present sentimentality of union to obscure issues for sake of
peace on New England terms.
There are examples of Dixie's blue, white and red but one of my
favorite is a color version showing the Confederacy's Great Seal
(1913) produced by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. One only
has to note an order of color in its ribbon from left to right and
outer to inner rings of the Great Seal as with the French
Tricolor's--Blue, White and Red.
Make sure your Confederate activities and organisations use Dixie's
true colors. They are a living heritage to enjoy and preserve for
Remember the BLUE, WHITE AND RED!