|Flags and the Civil War.|
Flags played an important role during the Civil War. Both sides relied heavily on their ability to identify troops quickly. |
During the Civil War, flags were considered almost sacred. Making sure your flag (or colors, or standard) was displayed was a matter of honor. In fact, it was an honor to carry the flag into battle. Unfortunately, it was also very dangerous. Although the flag bearer was unarmed, carrying that huge flag was like painting a bullseye on your uniform. It made a very easy and inviting target. Many flag bearers were killed very quickly in battle and nearby men would pick up the flag and proceed to carry it on until they were killed and so on.
The Union and the Confederacy both had their national flags as well. The United States had several flags during the period of the war, as states were still being admitted to the Union. The Confederates also had several national flags as they kept trying to perfect a design. By the time they eventually settled on a design, the war was all but over.
Talking about the flags of the Civil War brings up the topic of what they mean today. For many, the Confederate flag is a source of controversy. For many Southerners, it is a source of pride. For descendents of Confederate veterans, it is historically significant. However, many people today connect the flag to extremist or hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. Many would like to see the flag banned or even made illegal. It was only recently removed from government buildings in several Southern capitals.
Another controversy was taking place as this site was being created. An art gallery in Gettysburg was diplaying the work of an artist entitled "The Proper Way To Hang A Confederate Flag." The work shows a Confederate flag hanging from a gallows, symbolizing the many lynchings that took place in history. This has drawn criticism from both sides. Many in the North believe the flag should not be displayed, while many in the South believe the flag should not be desecrated. This is a perfect example of how the feelings that were prevalent before, during and after the war are still around today.
In fact, on March 20, 2007, John Schneider and Tom Wopat, the actors that played in the television show, "The Dukes of Hazzard" had a singing engagement cancelled in Ohio because of their connection to the show. During the run of the show, they drove a car called the "General Lee" which had the Confederate flag painted on the roof. The concert promoters felt that the actors connection to what they considered a symbol of oppression, was politically incorrect. Is displaying the Confederate flag insensitive to certain groups? Could banning it be considered insensitive to Southerners? We will leave this to you to decide.