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History of ‘the Confederate flag.’

[The following has been kindly furnished by the widow of Major Rogers, through the Rev. Arthur B. Kinsolving, D. D., of Brooklyn, N. Y. The gallant designer of the final Confederate flag was a son of General Asa Rogers, a graduate of the University of Virginia, and a lawyer in lucrative practice. He died soon after the conclusion of the war at Middleburg, Va., in the 38th year of his age.—Ed.]

The lowered banner of ‘the Stars and Bars’ is furled forever. No longer the symbol of a struggling people, nor as one day we hoped to look upon as the flag of a nation, ‘The Confederate States of America!’ free and independent. But our flag has a history, and the time has come when, to preserve that history from oblivion, some record should be made of it.

The author of the new design adopted by the Confederate Congress was Major Arthur Lee Rogers. Confederate States Artillery, who, while disabled from active service in the field, devoted some of his leisure hours to improve the national emblem.

After much attention to the subject and the laws of heraldry, Major Rogers, in January, 1865, submitted his design to Congress, and on the 13th of that month Mr. Semmes, of Louisiana, submitted the following bill in the Senate: A bill to establish ‘The Flag of the Confederate States.’ The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact that the flag of the Confederate States shall be as follows: The width two-thirds of its length, with the union (now used as the battle flag) to be in width three-fifths of the width of the flag, and so proportioned as to leave the length of the field on the side of the union twice the width of the field below; is to have the ground red and a blue saltin thereon, bordered with white and emblazoned mullets or five-pointed stars, corresponding in numbers of that of the Confederate States, the field to be white, except the outer half from the union, to be a red bar extending the width of the flag.

Before offering the bill, Mr. Semmes addressed a letter to General Lee, commanding ‘The Army of Northern Virginia,’ and requested his views of the proposed alteration. General Lee replied that he thought it ‘very pretty’ and that it certainly added distinctness to the flag; but, with his usual modest, said he mistrusted his own [90] judgment in such matters, and that the naval committee were the proper gentlemen to be consulted.

The bill was accordingly referred to the Committee on Naval Affairs; and after various plans had been submitted, and the opinions of the leading officers of the navy obtained, said committee unanimously recommended its adoption. Among the distinguished Confederate officers who approved the design of Major Rogers and recommended his proposed alteration in the national symbol of ‘The Confederate States’ were: General Joseph E. Johnston, General S. Cooper, Lieutenant-General Ewell, Lieutenant-General Longstreet, Major-General Fitzhugh Lee, Rosser and Lomax, of the Cavalry; Brigadier-General Pendleton, of the Artillery; Major-General Heth, Major-General Smith, Governor of Virginia; General F. H. Smith, of Lexington, Va.; Captain N. W. Baker, acting chief of Signal Bureau; Captain Wilborne, of the Signal Corps; Brigadier-General Wharton, Colonel J. S. Mosby, and many other distinguished officers of the army.

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