of Confederate flag publications


The last flag of the
Confederate States of America.
This animated flag was created by
Devereaux Cannon.

Below is a list (in alphabetical order) of books and articles devoted to Confederate vexillology,
with reviews by Greg Biggs.



  • Battle Flags of Texans in the Confederacy
    by Alan K. Sumrall (1995)
    This is the first work to document the known existing flags of Texas units in the war. The myriad of battle flag patterns shown, all created by the author based on scale drawings of the actual flags, serves to illustrate that the colors followed into battle by Texas units were indeed very diverse and wide ranging in terms pf patterns used.
  • The Battle Flags of the Confederate Army of Tennessee
    by Howard Michael Madaus (1976)
    Sadly long out of print, and going for quite high prices these days, this was the first scholarly documentation of Confederate flags used by the troops of the Army of Tennessee as well as its antecedents and supporting forces. Besides showing that Confederate troops used more than one battle flag pattern, the author’s research details many other patterns as well as the attempts to standardize patterns in the West. Heavily illustrated with scale drawings of actual flags in museums and private collections, as well as superbly footnoted, this book set the standards for others to follow.
  • Civil War Journal: The Legacies,
    edited by William C. Davis, Brian C. Pohanka, and Don Troiani [with some help from Howard Michael Madaus and Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr.] (1999)
  • Colours of the Gray,
    edited by Rebecca Ansell Rose, Curator of the Flag Collection (1998).
    An illustrated index of wartime flags from the Museum of the Confederacy’s collection.
  • Confederate Battle Flags In The Collection Of The Old State House, A Museum Of Arkansas History
    by Lucy K. Robinson (1988)
    This small booklet, with the actual flags in full color, covers the flags in the Arkansas state collection borne by Arkansas troops. This is a good document covering the history of these flags despite the fact that the state of knowledge about them has moved well forward from when this was written.
  • “The Damned Red Flags of the Rebellion”:
    The Confederate Battle Flag at Gettysburg
    by Richard Rollins (1997)
    This volume documents the losses and use of battle flags in the Gettysburg Campaign by Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Well researched and full of human interest stories about color bearers as well as the men who captured Confederate flags on the campaign, the book details just how important these flags were to their units and the heroics they performed to protect them. The color illustrations of actual flags captured on the campaign is a highlight, and it shows that Lee’s army was still using several flag patterns in mid-1863.
  • Documenting the Civil War Period Flag Collection
    at the Alabama Department of Archives and History

    by Robert B. Bradley (1997)
  • Embattled Banner:
    A Reasonable Defense of the Confederate Battle Flag
    by Don Hinkle (1997)
    Designed more to deal with some of the modern controversies surrounding the “Confederate flag”, Hinkle also goes into the history of the pattern. While some of his conclusions as to the inspiration for the St. Andrews cross flags can be called into question (the Scottish connection for example), the author does tell the story of how the most famous of Confederate battle flags came into creation as well as its misuse by modern hate groups.
  • Flags And Seal Of The Confederacy
    by Keith Oldendorf (1985)
    A small booklet, this one also contains many of the myths and errors of the previous works. By the time this was published the scholarly wheels were well in motion investigating Confederate flags and the author failed to use the sources then available to him.
  • Flags of the American Civil War: Confederate
    by Philip Katcher and Rick Scollins (1992)
    This title, part of the Osprey Series, is an overview of how the three national flags and some of the battle flag patterns were created. Illustrated with pictures for various museums as well as with excellent color drawings, this title, while not as detailed as some other works on these flags, is a good synopsis.
  • Flags of the American Civil War: State and Volunteer
    by Philip Katcher and Rick Scollins (1992)
    Another title of the Osprey Series, this work covers the various state flags, both Southern and Northern. Illustrated with pictures of actual flags as well as color drawings, this work is a good primer for state flags, even if there are a few errors in the text.
  • Flags Of The Confederacy
    by Malcolm R. Smith (1976)
    This small booklet is a slight update of the 1907 UCV booklet (The Flags Of The Confederate States Of America, discussed below) – and contains some of the same myths and errors as well. Of historical interest, however, is the inclusion of the Congressional report of 1888 covering the first atempt to return captured Confederate flags. This report also contains a detailed listing of those flags.
  • The Flags of the Confederacy:
    An Illustrated History

    by Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr. (1988)
    This is the first Confederate flags book written as a serious discussion of all the flags used by both the Confederate national and the military forces she raised for her defense. Cannon details the texts of the flag acts adopting national banners and also covers the creation of the many patterns of battle flags used by Confederate forces. Covered as well are the flags of the navy and related maritime services. The text is supported by illustrations and is a fine starting point for the study of these flags.
  • The Flags Of The Confederate States Of America
    by the authority of the United Confederate Veterans, 1907.
    This was the first work ever published attempting to detail Confederate flag, and it comes form an internal investigation into these colors. Dr. Samuel Lewis headed a research committee that sought to document all known patterns of flags used by the Confederacy, both political and miltary. Casting his net far and wide. Lewis was supported by the contributions of veterans from all theaters of the war sending in letters, drawings and other materials. A larger book was written but the money was not there to pay for its publication. Thus, in 1907, a very abbreviated booklet was published and sold to the national as well as regional UCV reunions. The book, hailed at the time as a fine documentation of these flags, was a sales failure in actuality. In addition, the work was seriously flawed in terms of accuracy, ignoring virtually all of the flags used by Western Confederates as well as some used by Eastern ones. Still, it was the first attempt to document these flags and serves as a source for the “battle flag” mythology that permeates America today. Lewis’ papers are in the Virginia Historical Society and detail what he had hoped to publish.
  • Rebel Flags Afloat: A Survey of the
    Surviving Flags of the Confederate States Navy,
    Revenue Service, and Merchant Marine

    (The Flag Bulletin, No. 115)
    by Howard Michael Madaus (1986)
    Written as part of the Flag Bulletin, a scholarly research journal devoted to the study of flags in general, this work covers the flags used by the Confederate Navy and related services. Also mentioned are the flags of the South Carolina Navy. The illustrations are scale drawings of actual naval colors and the text details the creation of these colors, their use and the supporting regulations for them. Still the finest work on this subject.
  • The Returned Battle Flags
    by Richard Rollins (Editor) (1995)
    Members of the United Confederate Veterans, attending a reunion in 1905 in Louisville, Kentucky, were handed a pamphlet sponsored by a railroad company as part of their reunion materials. The pamphlet covered some of the Confederate flags returned recently to the various states from Northern and Federal captivity. This pamphlet is now quite rare. This is a republished version and features all of the flags originally details, complete with their color illustrations, and, as a bonus, publishes the War Department log book for the captured flags during the war. While certainly not all of the flags lost to Northern troops, this is the largest collection of them, and comes with some history for each flag as well as its War Department number. Very useful for flag and unit researchers.
  • Unit Colors of the Trans-Mississippi Confederacy
    (Military Collector & Historian, Vol. XLI, Nos. 3 and 4, Vol. XLII, No. 1)
    by Howard Michael Madaus and Robert D. Needham (1989)
    Written as a followup to his ground breaking book on Army of Tennessee flags, this three part series covers the many types of unit flags used in the Confederate Trans-Mississppi Theater. Besides some of the more well know patterns, the author shows some flags unique to this area of operations. The text is supported, as before, with scale drawings of actual flags. The footnotes are a gem unto themselves.
  • What You Should Know About The Flags Of The Confederacy
    by Earl P. Williams, Jr. (1993)
    By the time this booklet was written, the state of research into Confederate flags was such that the final outcome of this work should have been much better. It is basically a distilled down version of Devereaux Cannon’s book but with errors and mythology added in.

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