The "Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia" was designed by General Beauregard in the fall of 1861, and was based on an earlier, rejected design for the Confederate National Flag.
The need for a distinctive flag became apparent during the Battle of First Manassas. Because of the similiarity between the US Flag and the CSA Flag, and the fact that no real uniform standards yet existed for either army, it was difficult to tell friend from foe during the battle. General Beauregard had proposed several other solutions to this "identification" problem, but they were deemed unworkable.
The first three flags were hand sewn by the Cary sisters from material taken from their dresses and petticoats. These flags were presented to Generals Beauregard, Johnston and Van Dorn. General Beauregard's flag was still in his possession when he died in 1893. Today it resides in the Cabildo Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag underwent several design variations during the war. With some modifications, it was also adopted by most other Confederate Armies.
© 1998 Robert A. Belflower