Teaching Materials
Ask a Master Teacher
Lesson Plan Gateway
Lesson Plan Reviews
State Standards
Teaching Guides
Digital Classroom
Ask a Digital Historian
Tech for Teachers
Beyond the Chalkboard
History Content
Ask a Historian
Beyond the Textbook
History Content Gateway
History in Multimedia
Museums and Historic Sites
National Resources
Quiz
Website Reviews
Issues and Research
Report on the State of History Education
Research Briefs
Roundtables
Best Practices
Examples of Historical Thinking
Teaching in Action
Teaching with Textbooks
Using Primary Sources
TAH Projects
Lessons Learned
Project Directors Conference
Project Spotlight
TAH Projects
About
Staff
Partners
Technical Working Group
Research Advisors
Teacher Representatives
Privacy
Quiz Rules
Blog
Outreach
Teaching History.org logo and contact info

The Reason Behind the "Stars and Bars"

sheet music cover, origin of the stars and bars
Question 

Why does the Confederate battle flag have 13 stars on it, instead of 11 stars, one for each of the seceding states?

Answer 

A Confederate battle flag distinct from the flag of the Confederacy, the "Stars and Bars," was created following the first major battle of the Civil War, at Bull Run near Manassas, Virginia, in July 1861, because in the heat of battle soldiers and commanders confused the Stars and Bars with the Union army's "Stars and Stripes."

After General Pierre Gustav Toutant Beauregard, commander of the Confederate forces at Manassas, demanded a change, the Virginia army's high command, meeting in the Fairfax Court House in September, agreed to a design that earlier had been proposed for the flag of the Confederacy, but rejected in favor of the Stars and Bars. The new battle flag, a perfect square of red with a diagonal St. Andrew's cross of blue punctuated with white or gold stars, was produced by women in Richmond and first issued to soldiers by the end of October. The number of stars, representing the number of seceding states, increased to 13 after Missouri was admitted into the Confederacy on November 28, 1861 and a Kentucky secessionist provisional government that had formed on November 18 was voted into the Confederacy on December 10.

Despite the fact that a pro-Union government replaced the secessionists in Missouri and the Kentucky government voted to end their status of neutrality and stay in the Union, the 13 stars remained on most Confederate battle flags throughout the war, although flags with 12 stars also were produced. Beauregard attempted to standardize the battle flag throughout the Confederacy, but individual units resisted, insisting on retaining their own distinct designs.

Bibliography 

John M. Coski, The Confederate Battle Flag: America's Most Embattled Emblem. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2005.

Henry Woodhead, ed. Echoes of Glory: Arms and Equipment of the Confederacy. Alexandria, Va.: Time-Life Books, 1991.

Nice I like it!

Nice I like it!

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <b> <i>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
 
Content