I salute the Confederate Flag with Affection, Reverence and Undying Devotion to the cause for which it stands.
The Congress of the Confederate States of America (CSA) adopted it's new flag soon after convening in March, 1861. The design they chose drew from the heraldic symbols of the flag of the United States. Their political intent was to show that it was the CSA who truly held to the original principles of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution created by the founding fathers and that it was the United States which had departed from these principles. Thus, on March 4, 1861, the new flag was adopted. It was commonly known as the Stars and Bars, owing to the circle of stars and three large lateral bars.
This new design soon presented a very serious problem. After the invasion of the South by Northern forces, a fierce battle took place between the town of Manassas and Bull Run creek in Virginia. During this battle, soldiers from both sides were confused by the similarities between the flags of the CSA and the USA. This led to needless casualties. Although the Confederacy defeated the US forces in this first battle of the bloody War for Southern Independence, the Southern commander, General P.G.T. Beauregard demanded a new banner be used on the field of battle.
March 4, 1861 to May 1, 1863 A Virginia unit was soon noticed carrying a flag which was an adaptation of the Scottish Cross of Saint Andrew. General Beauregard relized that this flag would be quite distict from the USA flag. He ordered that the flag be adopted as the official battle flag of his Southern armies. It is known as the "Battle Flag".
May 1, 1863 to March 4, 1865 In recognition of Confederate military achievement, the Battle Flag was officially made part of the National Flag of the Confederacy on May 1, 1863. The flag was pure white with the Battle Flag prominently displayed in the upper left corner. It was named the "Stainless Banner" due to the purity of the Southern struggle for independence. Soon, this flag too presented problems for the Southern forces in the field. The rectangular shape coupled with the use of heavy cotton made this flag hang in such a way as to almost hide the Confederate flag in the upper corner. In several instances, this flag was mistaken for an all white flag of truce.
3rd or Current National Flag March 4, 1865 to Present So, on March 4, 1865, a red vertical bar was added to the end of the flag. This design became the final and present Confederate national flag often referred to as the Third National Flag.
In addition to the national flags, a wide variety of flags and banners were flown by Southerners during the War. Most famously, the "Bonnie Blue Flag" was used as an unofficial flag during the early months of 1861. It was flying above the Confederate batteries that first opened fire on Fort Sumter, beginning the Civil War.