An Emblem of Truth from the Author of Life

The Flag of Sumter, October 20, 1863, Conrad Wise Chapman, Museum of the Confederacy.
The Flag of Sumter, October 20, 1863, Conrad Wise Chapman, Museum of the Confederacy.

THE UNCONQUERED BANNER.
Maud Dudley Shackelford, Tarboro, North Carolina
(Confederate Veteran, Vol. XXVI, No. 11, November 1918.)

There’s a banner that waves in the city of light,
Unfurled by the saints for eternity there
On the temple of peace, where the martyrs of right
Now see it upraised from adversity’s snare;
And the angel that guards it has written its story
Unencumbered by fate in the annals of glory.

Though the sages of earth trace in marble and stone
Its image, a symbol of death and of strife,
In the kingdom of love it has come to its own
As an emblem of truth from the Author of life,
Who has blazoned its stars where the souls of the shriven
At the gateway of bliss read its welcome to heaven.

O! we look on our harvesting land where the blood
Of patriots flowed for a wound or a scar,
And we listen in vain by the deep-rolling flood
For tales of its numberless victims of war;
But the voices of nature are everywhere singing
Of the victory born of our loyalty’s clinging.

For recounted as naught in the history of earth
The laurels once gathered from liberty’s sod,
And the hand of the spoiler which darkened our hearth
But offered our cause to the justice of God,
Who in wisdom united what man would discover,
Yet uplifted our banner unconquered forever.

Our Cause Is Just and Holy

Confederate Second National Flag carried by the Consolidated 6th & 7th Arkansas Infantry Regiment.
Confederate Second National Flag carried by the Consolidated 6th & 7th Arkansas Infantry Regiment.

Come, all ye sons of freedom, and join our Southern band,
We are going to fight the Yankees and drive them from our land.
Justice is our motto and providence our guide,
So jump into the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

Secession is our watchword, our rights we all demand;
To defend our homes and firesides, we pledge our hearts and hands;
Jeff Davis is our president, with Stephens by his side;
Brave Beauregard, our General, will join us in the ride.

Our wagon is the very best, the running gear is good;
Stuffed ’round the sides with cotton, and made of Southern wood.
Carolina is the driver, with Georgia by her side,
Virginia holds the flag up, and we’ll all take a ride.

There are Tennessee and Texas also in the ring;
They wouldn’t have a government where cotton wasn’t king.
Alabama and Florida have long ago replied;
Mississippi and Louisiana are anxious for the ride.

Old Lincoln and his Congressmen with Seward by his side,
Put old Scott in the wagon just for to take a ride.
McDowell was the driver, to cross Bull Run he tried,
But there he left the wagon for Beauregard to ride.

Manassas was the battleground. the field was fair and wide;
They Yankees thought they’d whip us out, and on to Richmond ride;
But when they met our “Dixie” boys, their danger they espied;
They wheeled about for Washington, and didn’t wait to ride.

The Tennessee boys are in the field, eager for the fray;
They can whip the Yankee boys three to one, they say;
And when they get in conflict with Davis by their side,
They’ll pitch into the Yankee boys and then you’ll see them slide.

Our cause is just and holy, our men are brave and true;
We’ll whip the Lincoln cutthroats is all we have to do.
God bless our noble army; in Him we all confide;
So jump into the wagon and we’ll all take a ride.

The Southern Wagon (1861).

Ensign Struck off Cherbourg

Second National Confederate Flag from the C.S.S. Alabama, held by family tradition to be the flag struck during the 19 June 1864 battle with the U.S.S. Kearsarge. Given by Captain Raphael Semmes to Hugh Rowland Beaver in 1864.
Second National Confederate Flag from the C.S.S. Alabama, held by family tradition to be the flag struck during the 19 June 1864 battle with the U.S.S. Kearsarge. Given by Captain Raphael Semmes to Hugh Rowland Beaver in 1864.

Some ten or fifteen minutes after the commencement of the action our spanker gaff was shot away, and our ensign came down by the run. This was immediately replaced by another at the mizenmast-head. Official Report of Captain Semmes.

It was the boast of Admiral Semmes that nothing was saved, when the Alabama was sunk off Cherbourg by the Kearsage, that might be a trophy for the victors. In fact his boat’s flag was saved and that he presented to Rowland Beaver in return for his hospitality at Singapore. The flag still exists, probably the only tangible relic of one of the great raiders in naval history. It is a large white flag, the top corner next the flagstaff being red with a St. Andrew’s cross of blue imposed on it. On the cross are thirteen white stars, representing the original thirteen United States. An Anglesey Sea Captain by Hugh Beaver, Anglesey Antiquarian Society Transactions (1928).

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An Emblem of Freedom Unfurled in the Right

Sheet Music Cover; The Star Spangled Cross and the Pure Field of White.
Sheet Music Cover; The Star Spangled Cross and the Pure Field of White.

The Star-Spangled Cross and the pure field of white
Is the banner we give to the breeze,
‘Tis an emblem of Freedom unfurled in the right,
O’er our homes and our lands and our seas.

CHORUS:

We’ll stand by the Cross
And the pure field of white,
While a shred’s left to float on the air:
Our trust is in God, who can help us in fight,
And defend those who ask Him in prayer.

For years we have cringed to the uplifted rod,
For years have demanded our right,
Our voice shouts defiance, our trust is in God,
And the strong arm that gives us our might.

CHORUS

Our hills and our vales with the death shriek may ring,
And our forests may swarm with the foe,
But still to the breeze our proud banner we’ll fling,
And to Vict’ry or Death we will go.

CHORUS

— The Star Spangled Cross and the Pure Field of White;
written and composed by “Subaltern.”

‘Tis Dripping with Our Blood

The Texas State Library and Archives has almost two dozen Civil War flags in its collection. TSLAC 306-4067 is an enormous version of the Stainless Banner, measuring 69 x 145 inches (approximately six feet by twelve feet). The flag is inscribed with the name “Major Chas. R. Benton, C.S.A.” Major Benton was the chief ordnance officer at the Confederate garrison in Galveston, and the flag is believed to have flown there.
Texas State Library and Archives (TSLAC) 306-4067 is an enormous version of the Second National Confederate Flag (“The Stainless Banner”), measuring 69 x 145 inches. The flag is inscribed with the name “Major Chas. R. Benton, C.S.A.” Major Benton was the chief ordnance officer at the Confederate garrison in Galveston, and the flag is believed to have flown there.

Oh, I’m a good old Rebel soldier, now that’s just what I am;
For this “Fair Land of Freedom” I do not give a damn!
I’m glad I fit against it, I only wish we’d won,
And I don’t want no pardon for anything I done.

I hates the Constitution, this “Great Republic,” too!
I hates the Freedman’s Bureau and uniforms of blue!
I hates the nasty eagle with all its brags and fuss,
And the lying, thieving Yankees, I hates ’em wuss and wuss!

I hates the Yankee nation and everything they do,
I hates the Declaration of Independence, too!
I hates the “Glorious Union” — ’tis dripping with our blood,
And I hates their striped banner, and I fit it all I could.

I followed old Marse Robert for four years, near about,
Got wounded in three places, and starved at Point Lookout.
I cotched the “roomatism” a’campin’ in the snow,
But I killed a chance o’ Yankees, and I’d like to kill some mo’!

Three hundred thousand Yankees is stiff in Southern dust!
We got three hundred thousand before they conquered us.
They died of Southern fever and Southern steel and shot,
But I wish we’d got three million instead of what we got.

I can’t take up my musket and fight ’em now no more,
But I ain’t a’gonna love ’em, now that’s for sartain sure!
I do not want no pardon for what I was and am,
And I won’t be reconstructed, and I do not care a damn!

Good Ol’ Rebel Soldier, Major Innes Randolph, C.S.A.

An Act to Establish the Flag

The Second National Flag of the Confederate States of America.
The Second National Flag of the Confederate States of America.

First Congress, Session III, Chapter 88.

CHAP. LXXXVIII.–An act 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 field to be white, the length double the width of the flag, with the union, (now used as the battle flag,) to be a square of two thirds the width of the flag, having the ground red; thereon a broad saltier (sic) of blue, bordered with white, and emblazoned with white mullets or five pointed stars, corresponding in number to that of the Confederate States.

APPROVED May 1, 1863.

The National Hymn

Cover of sheet music for “God Save the South” featuring the Second National Confederate Flag.

God Save the South

Sheet music cover for the unofficial Confederate national anthem ‘God Save the South’.
“God Save the South” is considered to be an unofficial national anthem of the Confederate States of America. It was written by George Henry Miles (as Ernest Halphin). The commonly-heard version was composed by Charles W. A. Ellerbrock, while C. T. De Cœniél composed a different tune for the song. It was written in 1861.

* * *

I.
God save the South, God save the South,
Her altars and firesides, God save the South!
Now that the war is nigh, now that we arm to die,
Chanting our battle cry, “Freedom or death!”
II.
God be our shield, at home or afield,
Stretch Thine arm over us, strengthen and save.
What tho’ they’re three to one, forward each sire and son,
Strike till the war is won, strike to the grave!
Strike till the war is won, strike to the grave!
III.
God made the right stronger than might,
Millions would trample us down in their pride.
Lay Thou their legions low, roll back the ruthless foe,
Let the proud spoiler know God’s on our side.
Let the proud spoiler know God’s on our side.
IV.
Hark honor’s call, summoning all.
Summoning all of us unto the strife.
Sons of the South, awake! Strike till the brand shall break,
Strike for dear Honor’s sake, Freedom and Life!
Strike for dear Honor’s sake, Freedom and Life!
V.
Rebels before, our fathers of yore.
Rebel’s the righteous name Washington bore.
Why, then, be ours the same, the name that he snatched from shame,
Making it first in fame, foremost in war.
Making it first in fame, foremost in war.
VI.
War to the hilt, theirs be the guilt,
Who fetter the free man to ransom the slave.
Up then, and undismay’d, sheathe not the battle blade,
Till the last foe is laid low in the grave!
Till the last foe is laid low in the grave!
VII.
God save the South, God save the South,
Dry the dim eyes that now follow our path.
Still let the light feet rove safe through the orange grove,
Still keep the land we love safe from Thy wrath.
Still keep the land we love safe from Thy wrath.
VIII.
God save the South, God save the South,
Her altars and firesides, God save the South!
For the great war is nigh, and we will win or die,
Chanting our battle cry, “Freedom or death!”
Chanting our battle cry, “Freedom or death!”

The Star Spangled Cross and the Pure Field of White

The Star Spangled Cross and the Pure Field of White. Second Pattern Confederate National Flag.

A Perpetual Sermon

Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk.

Upon the day appointed — being, by a happy coincidence, the Feast of St. Peter the Apostle — the local military force of Augusta, consisting of one full regiment of infantry, a battery of light artillery, and a company of cavalry, was drawn up on Telfair St., in the rear of the City Hall, at half-past nine o’clock, A. M.  The case enclosing the remains was brought and placed within the hearse by soldiers detailed for the purpose.  The hearse was draped in the flag of the Confederate States, with its broad folds of white and its starry cross of Trust and Truth upon a field of blood, and surmounted with wreaths of bay and laurel, and a cross of evergreen and snow-white flowers.

* * *

Leonidas Polk, Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana and General in the Army of the Confederate States.

Who can estimate the influence of such an act as that of our brother upon the cause which is so vital to every one of us? What could invest it with a higher moral grandeur than that a bishop of the Church of God should gird on the sword to do battle for it?  A faction of the Northern Church pretended — some of them engaged in acts infinitely more derogatory to the glory of Christ’s Church — to be shocked at it; but it, nevertheless, filled them with dismay.  They saw in it an intensity of feeling and of purpose at which they trembled, and when they found no echo of their pious horror from the Church of England, they ceased their idle clamor.  And our brother thus became, before even he had drawn his sword, a tower of strength to the Confederacy.  And who can say how much of the religious influence, which has diffused itself so remarkably among the officers of the army of the West may not have reached their hearts through the silent power of his example and his prayers!  Bishop Polk did not think the public exercise of his ministry a proper accompaniment of his military career, and in that I think he acted most wisely; but his dignified and irreproachable life was a perpetual sermon, and his private communion with God was his spiritual power.  It is a very striking fact that every officer of high rank in that army — the army which, in the language of Gen. Johnston, he created, and had always commanded — has become a professed disciple of the meek and lowly Jesus; and that the last act of our warrior-bishop was the admission into the Church of his Saviour and Redeemer, through the holy sacrament of baptism, of two of its most renowned commanders.  He lived long enough to see Christ recognized in its councils of war; and, his work on earth being done, he obeyed the summons of his Master, and passing away from earth, his mantle rests upon it.

— Funeral Address for General Leonidas Polk, Feast of St. Peter, 1864.

God & Our Country

Confederate Second National pattern battle flag carried by the Consolidated 6th & 7th Arkansas Infantry Regiment.

This Second National pattern flag, carried during the War of Northern Aggression by the Consolidated 6th & 7th Arkansas Infantry Regiment, is currently housed in the Old State House Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas.  In official service from May 26, 1863 to March 4, 1865, the pattern became known as the “Stainless Banner” due to its pure white field.  By President Jefferson Davis’ order, one of its first uses was to drape the coffin of General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson who died on May 10, 1863 from a case of pneumonia contracted during treatment of injuries received at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2.

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