Ensign of the CS Revenue Service
flown on the revenue cutter Robert McClellan
by Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr.
The flag of the Confederate States Revenue Service was apparently adopted on 10 April 1861. Articles in several Southern newspapers of the time state that the flag was designed by Dr. H. P. [or H. D.] Capers of South Carolina. Capers basically modified the Stars and Bars by arranging the colors vertically (as in the old U.S. Revenue Service flag), and in so doing eliminated one of the red bars. The resulting design was nearly identical to the French tricolor, but with the blue bar wider and having the addition of a circle of seven stars at the upper hoist.
Suprisingly, although the Confederate States Revenue Service was comprised of only a few ships, at least three flags agreeing with this basic design survive. One is the seven star flag of the McClellan, illustrated above. Another with an unknown history is similar in design to that of the McClellan, but has an eighth star added within the center of the circle of seven stars.
The third surviving Revenue Service flag appears to have been originally made as a French flag. The blue, white and red vertical bars are essentially of equal width. The eleven white stars are not arranged in a circle on the blue bar, but are instead distributed so as to form a Latin cross.
Howard Michael Madaus