I watched a movie from the 1960’s the other, “THE HORSE SOLDIERS” staring John Wayne.  And in it of course they fought the confederate forces several times.  In each scene  there was someone carrying or waving the confederate flag.  And the flag they used was the ever popular rectangular red banner with the crossed stripes.  Now this is not the Confederate Flag nor was it the battle banner, it is a naval ensign, flown from the stern of a ship.  Anytime you see a clown driving his pickup truck with a decal of this banner displayed on it he is declaring that he is in the Confederate Navy.

     The Confederate Battle Banner was square, red with the crossed blue stripes and the thirteen stars.  It was 50 inches square for the Infantry, 36 inches for Artillery and 24 for Calvary.  Yes there were a few units that used the Naval Ensign but few.  This was strictly a battle banner, not the Confederate Flag.

     When the southern states succeeded from the union, a conclave was convened to select a flag and the banner was presented.  It was turned down with one senator exclaiming it looked like a damned pair of suspender’s.  The first confederate Flag had a blue field with the 13 stars in a circle, it had one large white stripe bordered by two red ones.  This was the “Stars and Bars”.  It had thirteen stars because the Confederacy thought that Missouri and Kentucky would succeed with them.  Neither did but tried to remain neutral, both suffered greatly and became areas of bloody conflict between devise elements with in the states and bordering ruffians. 

     It was used during the first two years of the war, and caused quite a bit of confusion on the battle field.  In one instance Confederate Infantry was able to advance to within 75 yards of a union artillery battery and open fire because the flag remained limp in the still air and the union troops thought it was their flag.

     It was decided to change the flag to reduce the confusion and a new flag adopted.  this was the Stainless Banner it was white with a impression of the battle banner in the field area.  This was met with much dislike as most thought it looked too much like a surrender flag.  This is the correct flag for the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, although many were still using the Stars and Bars.

     The third Flag was never carried into battle and I really do not remember what it looked like, and my books are still boxed up.

     We always say the Confederate Army, but it was made up of the various Army’s of the States.  the Army of Virginia, The Army of Georgia, The Army of Tennessee.   Each state claimed the right to govern it’s own army which caused a lot of friction with in the ranks of the Confederate command.  When Sherman burned the vast stores in Richmond the  forces of other states were ragged.  Georgia would not allow its supplies to be rationed to states.  This seriously weakened the cohesion of the south.

     In the north you had a standing Union Army under the direct command of Washington.   these forces were divided into two Army’s the Army of the Western theater and the Army of the East.  These were divided into divisions and further into regiments, then to company’s.  Each regiment had its regimental flags, all the same except for the numbers on them.  State militia’s were issued regimental flags with their states represented on the most times.

     In the South they usually had regimental flags based on the state flags.

     All this ramble is to say all this information has been readily available for years so why has writers and prop people been so ignorant for so long is my question.  This is as stupid as them using 1873 Colts and 1894 Winchesters in a 1863 area movie.  Maybe they think we are all ignorant as they are.

     Now I know some of you are more informed than I , but you get the drift of my complaint.

And thanks for dropping in again.

I find it difficult to believe that this pile of rambles has had 12,500+ hits in the two years I been punching these keys.

 Thanks a heap.


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  1. plqstiich Says:

    I’m impresed that you saw this thing. I haven’t noticed it, when I whatched the move. But even if I had, I doubt that it will make me impression, as I’m not common at all with the theme of the move…


    […] ramblingbob placed an observative post today on THE CONFEDERATE FLAG IN THE MOVIESHere’s a quick excerptI watched a movie from the 1960’s the other, “THE HORSE SOLDIERS” staring John Wayne. And in it of course they fought the confederate forces several times. In each scene there was someone carrying or waving the confederate flag. … […]

  3. ramblingbob Says:

    Oh Lord, it has got to be a tender point for me in these later years. The fare presented in the movies and TV is so slim that I watch the same things over and over. My wife says how can you watch the same things so often? Wel I watch the movie the first time for the story, and after I look at the details and backgrounds. It really gets interesting after awhile. Things like using the correst rifle say a model 66 Winchester and they keep cocking the lever on the thing and on the bottom of the magizine tuve there is a little thumb slide that is on the bottom it is right behind the last bullet in the tube they are allways against the reciever showing the tube is empty but they keep firing the gun.. The trouble is I have read and done so much that I see these things automaticly. Also I have known people who work in the prop departments of the film industry. And most guns are firing butane these days. Makes the flame but throws no wadding like blanks do. Thanks for reading

  4. professional Says:

    Hello. I think you are eactly thinking like Sukrat. I really loved the post.

  5. ramblingbob Says:

    Sorry to say I don,t understand the Sukrat refrence, but thanks for the comment.

  6. 8minutesonhigh Says:

    Hi. I write a blog called 8minutesonhigh and I got this spam. Just for kicks I googled it and found it on your web site and a number of others. Looks like somoene who knows search engines is getting his name out there. Just thought you might like to know.

    professional Says:
    September 11th, 2008 at 3:50 pm e

    Hello. I think you are eactly thinking like Sukrat. I really loved the post.

  7. Rebecca Anstett Says:

    Funny, I just got that exact piece of spam myself.

  8. James Coates Says:

    Bob, and other readers,
    The third national flag of the confederacy was known as the “Blood Stained Banner” as it was a white banner with the lower half “stained” red, it included the battle flag in the field as had the unstained banner.

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    fox trot there are other movies that have the battle flag in it in 1915 birth of a nation dr. by d.w. driffith.buster keatons the general 1920,two flags west 1950 with jeff chandler and joseph cotton.the horse soldier with john wayne.min series north and south with james read .tvshow the rebel with nick adams. one of james stewart movies gone with the wind with clark gable and vivan leight.1939.the unfeateded with john wayne and rock Hudson.tvshow dukes of hazzard movies Gettysburg and god an lobo with john wayne.there are several hundereds of movies with the rebel battle flags in if anyone ask the k.k.k. to put the rebel flag down.and the neon-Nazi ,the skin heads the biker gangs like hells angels ,the outlaws etc etc.all that will happen is people will buys all the all things confederate flags.what about the reactors of the civil wars battles.i see by bringing down rebel flags .what about the cities around usa with the name of confederate name in it .the schools that have the name of confederated in it. all this people will go under ground and buy.

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