The American Civil War & its Controversial Banners

Flags of the US Civil War

Find all flags from The American Civil War in the Collections pages here.

The Civil War was America's bloodiest conflict and pitched the Northern States (the Union) against the Southern States (the Confederates). Arguably the two most famous military personalities to emerge from the American Civil War were their commanding generals: Ohio born Ulysses S. Grant, and Virginia born Robert E. Lee.

There were many flags used by both sides throughout the war and many of these are included in the Britains Flags collection - all ideal for 1:32 Scale Figures including Britains Deetail and Swoppets. These range from the (controversial) Confederate banners like the ‘General Lee’ and the ‘Stars and Bars’ (the first Confederate flag), to the Union ‘Stars and Stripes’ flags (with varying amounts of stars depending on the year in which they were used and the battles they were featured).

A little history:

The American Civil War emerged from decades of partisan strife between the North and South over issues of slavery and states’ rights. After Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860, 11 southern states seceded to form the United States of America. It ended with the surrender of Confederate forces in 1865 and was the largest and deadliest war ever fought on American soil, with some 620,000 of 2.4 million soldiers killed, millions wounded and much of the South ara destroyed

During the Civil War, the United States went through four different flags: 33 Star Flag, 34 Star Flag, 35 Star Flag, and 36 Star Flag The original flag used in the attack on Fort Sumter was… 33 -Star Flag, created in 1859 after Oregon was admitted to the United States On July 4 of the year, the 34-star flag became the official flag of the United States to mark the admission of Kansas as a state glory.

In June 1863, the 35th star was added to the United States flag after Virginians who wanted to remain part of the Union created their own state of West Virginia. The annexation of Nevada to the United States in 1865 led to the creation of a 36-star flag.

The first flag associated with the Confederacy was known as the Bonnie Blue Flag, flown in the convention Mississippi voted to join South Carolina independently is blue representing South Carolina is blue with a star centre (although it came to symbolize solidarity South). But the Bonnie Blue flag was never adopted as a state flag, and in March 1861, the federal government decided it would be the first state flag (or the “stars and stripes” as it’s sometimes called) . remarkably similar to the American flag; It had three red and white stripes, and a blue canton with a star for each state in the Confederacy.

The second coat of arms was adopted in May 1863 because the first insignia resembled a Confederate flag – causing confusion during the war. The new flag featured the famous battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia (which today is sometimes mistaken by the public for the Confederate National Flag) with a white field in the upper left corner.

As the wind picked up and the flag hung from the pole, it was hard to distinguish from the white flag of peace. In response, a third national flag was created in March 1865, with a red stripe on the right side of the field, representing strength and courage.
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