William T. Thompson did NOT design the Confederate Flag.

There is a rumor, to put it nicely, going around right now that the designer of the second flag of the Confederacy was a man named William T. Thompson. Thompson was clearly a racist and wrote of fighting to “maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race.” Yuck.

This seems to have originated on the Twitter account of Jonathan Wilson, who apparently holds a PhD in US History from Syracuse University. I would have expected someone with a PhD in history to actually pay attention to the context surrounding one smaller excerpt, but apparently reading comprehension isn’t as fun. Now all of these different websites, mainly news sources, have copied the information and treated it like gospel. Then of course there are all the memes floating around featuring the same information. Which would be all well and good if it were completely accurate, but as usual it is a grain of truth with more omitted.

Mr. Wilson lists this as his source, a book entitled History of the Flag of the United States of America which was published in 1880 and available as a free ebook on Google Books. In it is excerpts from editorials written in the Savannah News by Thompson, including the above terrible quote. [1] However, if you read it you also find that Thompson was not a part of the committee which designed the flags and seal, the House, or the Senate. He was not even in the same city as those making these decisions, and had to receive news of the approved flags via dispatch. While we are told by this book that they approved a flag like what Thompson wrote of and had been submitted a design by him, it is clear they were considering a great number of design options and trying different options with modifying them.

The flag approved by the Senate was not in actuality what he had suggested, but rather a field of white with a blue stripe which makes sense since the Confederacy drew inspiration for their flag from the Scottish flag, the St. Andrew’s Cross, which is blue and white, and they were trying to move away from the appearance of the United States flag. The House decided they didn’t like the appearance of the blue stripe so removed it, and the flag as it was made was of different dimensions than what Thompson had talked about due to inconsistencies with the revisions between the Senate and House. Revisions that were done without Thompson being anywhere around.

George Preble, author of the above book, also wrote one entitled Our Flag: Origin and Progress of the Flag of the United States of America which had been published earlier. This book gives similar information, but more regarding the timeline of the flag’s approval. Thompson’s editorial with the very racist comments was published after the Senate had already approved the flag with the blue stripe, so Thompson’s design had to have been either nearly identical to designs that were already being looked at or it was his design but he revealed his own thoughts on the symbolism after the fact. There were two propositions for changes, either removing the blue stripe entirely or instead of a blue stripe making it a “broad blue border.”

On May 20th, 1863, a correspondent wrote to Thompson at the Savannah News, saying “Mr. Editor, you are one of the admirers of the new flag” and proceeding to inform him of the difference in dimensions which had been “established by law.” This being information also listed in the same books, only a couple pages past the excerpts Wilson chose to quote. I don’t know about you, but typically I don’t refer to the “designer” of something as an “admirer” of it. This quote tells me that there were people in the Confederacy, if not the majority of the Confederacy, that never would have considered Thompson the “designer” of the second national flag despite his having submitted a design and commented on the process.

Additionally, all of this regarding the second national flag occurred after the Confederate battle flag, the flag currently being debated in the media, was already designed and in use. THAT FLAG most certainly had nothing to do with Thompson whatsoever.

So then, what? Are we supposed to be shocked there were racists in 1863? This should surprise no one. There were racists everywhere! Thompson himself wasn’t even from the south originally, but was born and raised in Ravenna, Ohio.[2] However, to take a newspaper editor’s opinions and say they represent what the Confederate House and Senate had in mind for the symbolism in their approval is quite a leap, and for this to continue spreading is an example of horrible journalism.

It’s similar to how the South Carolina’s declaration of causes for secession cited hostility regarding slavery being of importance, Virginia chose to merely point out they had a right to secede and planned to do so, Texas cited the Federal government’s failure to offer any protection of Texan lives against Native American tribes or Mexican bandits, and Georgia mentioned slavery but also went in depth regarding how the Federal government was deliberately subsidizing industry of only the middle and northern states while allowing the south to pay taxes for it:

“The material prosperity of the North was greatly dependent on the Federal Government; that of the South not at all. In the first years of the Republic the navigating, commercial, and manufacturing interests of the North began to seek profit and aggrandizement at the expense of the agricultural interests. Even the owners of fishing smacks sought and obtained bounties for pursuing their own business (which yet continue), and $500,000 is now paid them annually out of the Treasury. The navigating interests begged for protection against foreign shipbuilders and against competition in the coasting trade.

Congress granted both requests, and by prohibitory acts gave an absolute monopoly of this business to each of their interests, which they enjoy without diminution to this day. Not content with these great and unjust advantages, they have sought to throw the legitimate burden of their business as much as possible upon the public; they have succeeded in throwing the cost of light-houses, buoys, and the maintenance of their seamen upon the Treasury, and the Government now pays above $2,000,000 annually for the support of these objects. Theses interests, in connection with the commercial and manufacturing classes, have also succeeded, by means of subventions to mail steamers and the reduction in postage, in relieving their business from the payment of about $7,000,000 annually, throwing it upon the public Treasury under the name of postal deficiency.

The manufacturing interests entered into the same struggle early, and has clamored steadily for Government bounties and special favors. This interest was confined mainly to the Eastern and Middle non-slave-holding States. Wielding these great States it held great power and influence, and its demands were in full proportion to its power. The manufacturers and miners wisely based their demands upon special facts and reasons rather than upon general principles, and thereby mollified much of the opposition of the opposing interest. They pleaded in their favor the infancy of their business in this country, the scarcity of labor and capital, the hostile legislation of other countries toward them, the great necessity of their fabrics in the time of war, and the necessity of high duties to pay the debt incurred in our war for independence. These reasons prevailed, and they received for many years enormous bounties by the general acquiescence of the whole country.

But when these reasons ceased they were no less clamorous for Government protection, but their clamors were less heeded– the country had put the principle of protection upon trial and condemned it. After having enjoyed protection to the extent of from 15 to 200 per cent. upon their entire business for above thirty years, the act of 1846 was passed. It avoided sudden change, but the principle was settled, and free trade, low duties, and economy in public expenditures was the verdict of the American people. The South and the Northwestern States sustained this policy. There was but small hope of its reversal; upon the direct issue, none at all.” [3]

The opponents of the Confederacy and of the Confederate flag seek to make this a far simpler and clearer cut period of history than it actually was. They depend on the Union having a moral superiority so that they can point fingers and condemn those who wish to remember their Southern heritage. It is not that simple though, and never has been.


[1] In the referenced books the newspaper was referred to as the “Savannah News,” but other sources refer to Thompson’s paper as the “Daily Morning News” or the “Savannah Morning News.” These all refer to the same publication.

[2] http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/arts-culture/william-tappan-thompson-1812-1882

[3] http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/primarysources/declarationofcauses.html

67 thoughts on “William T. Thompson did NOT design the Confederate Flag.

  1. I don’t know who you are or where you are–I’m just very glad you are researching these topics and putting the correct information on here for the world to see!

    I just saw an article, written by a well-known lawyer, about Southern symbols and freedom of speech. He came down on the side of freedom, thankfully. But the comments after the column were stupid as usual. People were equating Confederate flags with Nazi flags and insisting the war started over slavery and only slavery. No mention at all of two different cultures or the Morrill tariff. And these were educated attorneys, ostensibly! Also, I was just reading one of those stories about William T. Thompson having designed the second national flag. I doubted the credibility of the article, as it showed the battle flag while describing the second national flag. The sloppy article said nothing about the Saint Andrew’s cross, either. There was something weird about the dodgy article, regardless of the picture. And I saw a university professor on the news state that the symbol used in the battle flag represented white supremacy, long before the war ever came about. I still do not understand that one at all.

    The point is, I love the fact that you are correcting these falsehoods. Keep it coming as long as you can!
    –IAIN

    • Thanks Iain! I am a mother, work, and I’m a part time college student so unfortunately I can’t write articles for this site as much as I would like. However, I’m really glad to hear someone else appreciated what I found. With this topic it’s next to impossible to get black and white answers (no pun intended), but it’s amazing what often gets overlooked.

        • Unfortunately Wikipedia is a difficult case because even though it’s supposed to be open for editing, their editors still control a lot and someone could go right after me and change it back anyway. I think the way to counter it has to be with providing the information on websites we control and letting people decide for themselves. If youd like to share this though to help get the word out, definitely share the link or I have a meme up on Facebook which can be shared giving some basic rebuttal info.

          • I’ll re-post the meme image.

            What else could be done to stop this false information from spreading?

            I also heard that Thomson “designed” the battle flag as well.

            False knowledge is more dangerous than ingnorance.

            We gotta do something!

          • Those stupid memes and articles claiming Thompson designed the flag is actually what motivated me to create this site so I definitely understand where you are coming from with that. While I haven’t had time to add a ton of content yet, this is what I’ve come up with as far as attempting to counter it. They are spreading the same lies repeatedly until people believe it because that’s the only thing they know. We just have to keep repeating the other side so that people see that there IS another side of the story and this isn’t as cut and dry as what they’ve been told. It’s definitely not easy, especially when the big websites seem to be promoting the poorly researched claims.

          • “…their editors still control a lot and someone could go right after me and change it back anyway”

            Yeah, a few months ago I edited out all references to Thompson and someone changed it back the same day. So instead of starting an “editing war” I put the POV (Point of View) tag on that part of the article. At least that will cause people to question what they are reading-

            “The neutrality of this article is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved.”

          • Awesome. Yeah, I hadn’t attempted it because I’m familiar with other issues involving Wikipedia but that’s about what I expected. That’s part of why I’ve encouraged everyone to post anything they come across in comments on here even if I haven’t had a chance to update articles to reflect it yet. One way or another we’ll get all of this information together so that it’s available for people to find on Google, etc. Perhaps not the ideal scenario but at least it’s out there.

          • Great Idea Nikki!

            But how to get enough people to post the information?

            The Virginia Flaggers Facebook page??

          • Anywhere there is a page you frequent that you think would appreciate the info please share it. I have a new accounting class starting up next week so my time will be limited again but I can do short articles for not just this but anything pertaining to the war, et cetera so those pages will be available for the compilation of information which I can go through and edit further down the road.

    • So, Ian… you want to call people ignorant in regards to their comments as if this article and your comments are so credible? Then you have the audacity to say a professor on the news was pretty much incorrect as well? All this silly mumbo jumbo is the same as how all naysayers choose to believe and ignore history and one this that’s for sure is you cannot rewrite it. It is what is and was what it was. The only thing history can to is repeat itself, not rewrite. You fail to mention all the idiot rednecks of the south and every other racist bigot and how hey are the ones relating your stupid, “failed” flag as a symbol of racism…which includes treason, segregation and sedition. Also what those of that ignorant pool are having this pointless flag be represented as today. Who cares who created it, it’s still silly, ugly, hateful, pointless and ridiculous! If its a misrepresentation, blame no one but those who support it. Last I checked, all the (alleged and so-called American) terrorist of white supremacy loved this flag for one reason only…and that’s oppression. Nonetheless, even if all this in the article is true, it royally failed to mention, perhaps purposely, that in regards to the flag’s symbolism or heritage as a cluelessly proud ignorant person like to claim, it was never stated how it may very well be a harmless creation in the 1800s, and what southern white folk are insisting it reps today is not what it was intended for. So, the whole point is never try to ignore all stories, including present day. When you open a can of worms, then try to collect them, remember they ALL have to be accounted for…every side, every version, no stones unturned. Overall, the flag is still crap and if you need to dig so far down in history to where you have to connect pieces that no one else bothered to try and do, then that my friend is sad and racist in itself that people would rate labeled racist and give the impression through freedom of speech with a flag rather than address and try to protect the alleged real reason for its existence. You don’t speak for everyone, especially a person of color. You don’t know what it feels like, seems like and represents to others as a group. If you think segregation and hate is a great part of your heritage and history to hold on to and represent, then America is still in worse trouble than I thought even in our own backyard from our own neighbors.

      • This saddens me, perhaps most of all because I do understand why you feel this way. Its impossible not to when basing thoughts on the normal portrayal of events in our textbooks and what we are told these things represent. You don’t actually need to dig down that deep to find things were not as is claimed but it requires a readjustment of thought. That’s especially difficult when it is something that you’ve always believed was a symbol of your oppression. If you look at segregation, that wasn’t a thing in the south until the war was over and the south was being “reconstructed.” If you look at pictures of racists like the KKK who couldn’t handle the idea of the civil rights movement, you’ll usually see them carrying the US flag… Not a Confederate one. There are many people of color like H.K. Edgerton who are fighting to retain this heritage not just for white people but because there is history of people of color in the south that goes beyond just being a slave on a plantation. They willingly chose to fight under the flag for the south as well but you’ll never understand why unless you can overcome those things you’ve always been told to look a little closer. Now people of color are being attacked (physically and verbally) for speaking up about this heritage, seen by others as some sort of traitors to their skin color even though people make these assumptions without ever trying to learn more first. Unfortunately one black gentleman was killed in a car wreck last year when some others took issue with that about him.

        This is but one article addressing one topic. I have more here and will write more beyond that. I have no desire to paint either side as perfect or ignore faults but if people don’t want to see history repeat itself then they might want to learn what that history was.

        The words of people of color who challenge the mainstream narrative:

        H.K. Edgerton – http://southernheritage411.com

        Al Arnold – http://www.orderlyforlee.com

        Walter E. Williams – http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/articles/00/black_confederates.html

      • Sir,

        The only thing that I take issue with in your comment is the bit on treason.

        No Confederate soldier, civilian or government official was tried for treason against the United States.

        I’ll have to ask you to do some more research.

        Just Sayin’

        By the way I read that you said we don’t understand how you feel.

        How about you?

        Do you know how some of us feel?

        How about you walk in my shoes?

        • No one was tried for treason because the North led by Lincoln wanted to be magnanimous in victory to heal the nation. Rebelling and taking up arms against one’s nation is most certainly treason.

  2. Hello Nikki,
    I just found this item. You may want to incorporate (update) this in a your “William T. Thompson did NOT design the Confederate Flag” article.

    “Charleston, S.C., April 24, 1863.
    To Hon. C. J. Villere [Confederate House of Representatives]:

    Why change our battle flag, consecrated by the best blood of our country on so many battle fields? A good design for the national flag would be the present battle flag as a Union Jack, and the rest all white or all blue.

    G. T. Beauregard.”

    Charleston Mercury, May 7, 1863
    & Augusta Chronicle, May 8, 1863

    Also, those in the Confederate Congress involved in the design and debate on the flag said the white field represented “purity and truth” and not “white man’s flag.”

    • Wonderful BorderRuffian, thank you! Have you found any of the original papers where the Confederate Congress says that that we can cite? I was looking through some of the journal of the Confederate Congress and it was such a pain trying to actually find something applicable.

      • The Library of Congress site is down temporarily until Sunday evening but I was able to review some items before the shut down. I don’t see any evidence that Thompson submitted a design to the Confederate Congress or that they acted on suggestions from his newspaper…but the information available is not complete. From 1862 to early 1863 about 100 flag designs were submitted to Congress. Only about 30 mention the designer’s name.

        I did find something extra on Beauregard-

        “Richmond, Saturday, May 2
        ….Gen Beauregard suggested the flag just adopted, or else a field of blue in place of the white.”
        Charleston Mercury (Richmond correspondence), May 5, 1863

        -I believe that’s pretty good evidence for Beauregard.

        • Fantastic, thank you! Sorry for the very delayed response. Since I’d approved a comment from you before apparently WordPress didn’t feel the need to notify me that you’d posted an additional one. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to check that for me and I am working on some new content to be posted in the next few days (here’s hoping, though life keeps getting in the way).

  3. You can find definitely a lot of particulars like that to take into consideration. Which is a terrific point to bring up. I provide the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly you’ll find questions like the one you bring up where one of the most essential thing is going to be working in honest very good faith. I don?t know if ideal practices have emerged around issues like that, but I’m positive that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Each boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  4. From the debates in the Confederate Congress-

    Alexander Boteler (VA) of the Flag and Seal Committee, House of Representatives-

    “…Mr. Boteler said that borders were unusual on flags, but if the House determined to adopt one, let it be in conformity with the laws of heraldry. Some gentlemen, he observed, smile at this remark, but he would remind them that our flag should not be open to the criticism of the world. The border should occupy one-tenth of the flag. As to the color, that should also have meaning. If we adopted blue, it would be said that our affairs looked blue. The white in the flag signified purity and truth, and the border should be red, to embalm the recollection of those brave men who had shed their blood on the borders of the country in its defence……”

    Peter W. Gray (TX) of the Flag and Seal Committee, House of Representatives-

    “….Mr Gray, of Texas, hoped the House would adopt the flag adopted by the Senate, with the blue bar stricken out. Then we would have the battle flag, of glorious memories, and a white field, signifying purity, truth and freedom. He was opposed to the adoption of a border of blood……”

    -Richmond Whig, May 5, 1863

        • Correct. It’s hard to say with 100% certainty unless we find an official document from the flag committee which says unequivocally, “This is the person whose design we are choosing.” I don’t think there is anything like that though because there was so much debate back and forth about elements of the design so I think the closest we are going to come to is just explaining the fact that the claims Thompson did design it are so dubious.

  5. A friend showed me this:

    Our Flag: Origin and Progress of the Flag of the United States of America by George Henry Preble

    This is one of the books cited as ‘proving’ Thompson to be the designer of the Second National Flag-

    page 415-

    “In April, 1863, while the subject of a national flag was under discussion before the confederate congress at Richmond, Mr. Wm. T. Thompson, editor of the Savannah Morning News, suggested a white flag with the southern cross or battle flag for its union, as a national ensign for the confederacy, and to demonstrate the beauty of the design, got Capt. Wm. Ross Postell formerly of the Unted States and Texas navies, to make a colored drawing of his proposed flag. His editorial, published in the News, April 23, which follows, was republished with approval by the Richmond papers about the time the vote was taken in the house on the flag, but after the senate had adopted a white flag with a broad blue bar in its centre… ”

    It was republished on May 8 in the Richmond Whig – a full week after the final vote on the flag. There’s no statement by the Whig of approval or disapproval of Thompson’s views. They just reprinted part of his editorial. Reprinting items from other papers was a common practice in the 1800s.

    p.415 cont-

    “…On motion of Hon. Julian Hartridge, then chairman of the house committee on the flag…”

    Hartridge was not chairman of the Flag and Seal Committee. He wasn’t even on the committee.

    The author’s only source for this info is…William T. Thompson.

    page 419-
    “On the 20th of May, a correspondent wrote to the Savannah News: “Mr. Editor you are one of the admirers of the new flag, and you copied into yesterday’s News a very enthusiastic panegyric of it from the Richmond Examiner. But I doubt if either you or the editor of the Examiner has yet seen the flag which was established by law. The picture in your office (which is very beautiful), is not correct, nor have I seen one, of the several which are now in use, in and around this city, which is proportioned according to the law…”

    “The picture in your office”…?

    So, did Thompson actually submit a drawing to Congress?…or was it still hanging in his office?

    • I believe from my various reading that he did submit an idea along with hundreds of other people, but we have no evidence that it was one of the designs actually considered or even the timing of when he submitted it. The majority of the nonsense with him though seems to just stem from the newspaper editorials rather than anything to do with the committee who chose the flag design.

  6. I like what you guys are up also. Such smart work and reporting! Carry on the superb works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my site :)

    • Yes, please share the information that you see here so it becomes readily available to anyone and everyone it’s very important that we stop this misinfomation from spreading!

      We could print out Niki’s meme and pass it out to people on the street.

      (That sounds like a plan)

      Here’s a link to a great website that explains the flags of the CSA.

      http://www.confederate-flags.org/

      And here is what William P. Miles THE REAL FLAG DESIGNER had to say about HIS flag design.

      “…..Richmond, August 27,1861.
      Gen. G. T. Beauregard,
      Fairfax Court house, Virginia:

      Dear General, I received your letter concerning the flag yesterday, and cordially concur in all that you say. Although I was chairman of the ‘Flag Committee,’ who reported the present flag, it was not my individual choice. I urged upon the committee a flag of this sort.

      [Design sketched.]

      This is very rough, the proportions are bad.

      [Design of Confederate battle-flag as it is.]

      This was my favorite. The three colors of red, white, and blue were preserved in it. It avoided the religious objection about the cross (from the Jews and many Protestant sects), because it did not stand out so conspicuously as if the cross had been placed upright thus.

      [Design sketched.]

      Besides, in the form I proposed, the cross was more heraldic than ecclesiastical, it being the ‘saltire’ of heraldry, and significant of strength and progress (from the Latin salto, to leap). The stars ought always to be white, or argent, because they are then blazoned ‘proper’ (or natural color). Stars, too, show better on an azure field than any other. Blue stars on a white field would not be handsome or appropriate. The ‘white edge’ (as I term it) to the blue is partly a necessity to prevent what is called ‘false blazoning,’ or a solecism in heraldry, viz., blazoning color on color, or metal on metal. It would not do to put a blue cross, therefore, on a red field. Hence the white, being metal argent, is put on the red, and the blue put on the white. The introduction of white between the blue and red, adds also much to the brilliancy of the colors, and brings them out in strong relief.

      But I am boring you with my pet hobby in the matter of the flag. I wish sincerely that Congress would change the present one. Your reasons are conclusive in my mind. But I fear it is just as hard now as it was at Montgomery to tear people away entirely from the desire to appropriate some reminiscence of the ‘old flag.’ We are now so close to the end of the session that even if we could command votes (upon a fair hearing), I greatly fear we cannot get’ such hearing. Some think the provisional Congress ought to leave the matter to the permanent. This might, then, be but a provisional flag. Yet, as you truly say, after a few more victories, ‘association’ will come to the aid of the present flag, and then it will be more difficult than ever to effect a change. I fear nothing can be done; but I will try. I will, as soon as I can, urge the matter of the badges. The President is too sick to be seen at present by any one.

      Very respectfully yours,

      Wm. Porcher Miles….”

      Transcribed by T. Lloyd Benson, Department of History, Furman University, from Peleg D. Harrison, The Stars and Stripes and other American Flags (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1908), Pgs 337-38

      • You ARE aware that Miles was a white supremacist who thought slavery was a “Divine institution” and that, “Men are created neither Free nor Equal.” He was a Fire Eater, a group of extreme secessionists who not only supported slavery but wished to resume the slave trade with Africa. It is absolutely clear that his secessionist ideas were rooted in the idea of white superiority and anti-abolition beliefs.

        So………WHY are you choosing to NOT to show any of THAT information about him, which OBVIOUSLY motivated his actions during that time period??!!

        Oh….I guess it doesn’t fit your little sanitized narrative.

        • I would agree with you in part. Miles was certainly what you say he was and unfortunately there were such people in the South. Miles did not represent the entire South and the Confederate constitution forbade the slave trade with Africa. The point of the original post here is that Thompson didn’t design the flag and as it happens multiple sources reinforce that the color choices were based on heraldry. If you are going to accuse one side of a sanitized narrative for not getting into that topic anytime the name is mentioned you’re doing yourself no favors because the North had just as many racist skeletons in their closet.

        • “You ARE aware that Miles was a white supremacist…”

          Umm…Mr. Prevatt, you are aware that so was Abraham Lincoln, and virtually ALL white men north and South of the Mason-Dixon line in antebellum America…?!?!?

          In his 1858 debate with Sen. Steven Douglas, Lincoln maintained, “And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

          That’s textbook “white supremacy”, straight from the mouth of the “great emancipator”. So…what was your point again…?

  7. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all of us you actually know what you are talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also visit my site =). We could have a link exchange agreement between us!

  8. You’re welcome Eva,

    Please share this article with your friends and why not poke around and see what else Nikki and myself have to offer?

    If you have any questions or you just want to talk here’s my email.

    mwilliamsreb@gmail.com

    MW,

  9. Thanks very much for carefully researching that ‘new’ Thompson-flag-design lie. I knew when it started coming up less than a year ago that it was a false plant, a propaganda weapon and just plain wrong. Now with this evidence we can nail the lid on that new lie. The enemy keeps creating lies, we must watch out for them. Thanks!

  10. Actually the “…Men are created neither free nor equal…” quote comes from this guy not William P. Miles.

    http://civilwarcauses.org/holcombe.htm

    So Mark Prevatt needs to get his facts straight before he says something or at least back it up with source information.

    Nikki,this is why I just DESPISE the lack of source information.

    Source information, source information, source information very important to have or you seem like an idiot.

  11. Can I just now say that of a relief to find somebody that truly knows what theyre discussing on the internet. You certainly discover how to bring a challenge to light and produce it crucial. More and more people should check this out and fully grasp this side of the story. I cant think youre no more popular simply because you undoubtedly have the gift.

    • “….The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is….”

      – Winston Churchill

  12. Here’s another item-

    “In the month of April, [1863], there was some question in the Confederate Congress about changing the form and arrangement of their flag, and in reference to it, Beauregard, on the 24th of April, wrote to a friend: ‘Why change our battle-flag, consecrated by the best blood of our country on so many battlefields? A good design for the national flag would be the present battle-flag as Union Jack, and the rest all white or all blue.’ This idea was adopted by Congress, on the 1st of May, and thenceforth the Confederate flag was a white field,—-the length double the width, with the union to be a square of two-thirds the width of the flag, having the ground red, thereon a broad saltire of blue, bordered with white, and emblazoned white mullets or five-pointed stars, corresponding in number to the Confederate States.”

    -William Parker Snow, Southern Generals: Who they are, and what they have done (1865), p.246.

    Historians John Coski (Museum of the Confederacy) and Robert Bonner (Professor of History, Dartmouth) have published several books and articles on the Confederate flag. Neither of them give Thompson credit for designing the second national flag.

  13. I am an extremely open-minded person who tries to obtain as much information on a topic as possible before coming to any conclusions. I have been researching the history of the Confederate flag extensively and I have some concerns with your article. To begin, it is difficult to accept it as fact when this is the one and only place that I have found (and believe me, I have looked everywhere) asserting that W. T. Thompson did not design the flag. Don’t misunderstand me, there are many sources claiming that the designer was William Porcher Miles (even in the comments above) but yours is the only one stating outright that Thompson is NOT the designer. It is usually difficult, if not impossible, to prove a negative so I don’t know how anyone can state unequivocally that Thompson did not design the flag without proving who actually did design it. It seems that all the literature points to either Thompson or Miles. You address Miles in the comments above but never definitively state that he is NOT the designer as you do with Thompson. Do you have any more information to support that Miles is not the designer and/or information leading to the true designer?

    • Hi Paul, thanks for the comment. My statement in the headline that Thompson did not design it is more meant to let people know that this article is countering the rumor that was going around a year ago when the claims first seemed to be popping up all over the place. As you can see from everything you have read, once that idea caught on it was about all you could find and it took a bit of searching to backtrack to where it all started. Then in the article I’m breaking down all the issues I have with it. What information we have indicates Thompson commented on the design after it was approved and his understanding of at minimum the dimensions was incorrect. Which, you’re right, it’s hard to state unequivocally but there is also no good evidence saying he did and that’s basically the conclusion I come to in the article. It doesn’t add up.

      I addressed Miles’ character but chose not to address who is the designer because I too am not fully convinced of who DID and want to research more. I’ve begun work on a second article updating this one with additional info and have some Confederate records I’m planning to go through in hopes of finding something that constitutes real evidence as to where the committee that made the decision said the design was from. Unfortunately it’s been put on the back burner due to work, pregnancy, et cetera getting the better of me. So, I have lots of assorted notes and bookmarks but not yet put into a form that really sheds any more light on it. I don’t really feel comfortable throwing out isolated quotes until I’ve done a lot more research.

    • (This post was meant to be a very specific response to the Thompson claims while the second post I hope to make much broader with much, much more information. It’s just a matter of finding the time and evidence.)

    • I have no desire to explain away anything. As I’ve stated before in multiple posts, there were racists in the south who did care about this topic just like there were racists in the north who held similar beliefs. Not everyone in the Confederate government thought like that and neither did all those who fought under the flag. The issue is with saying that everyone who supported secession or fought for the Confederacy did so because of slavery, ignoring other topics and those who were opposed to it and still fought. Just by looking at the declaration of causes of the seceding states we can see where for some states it was a big issue while for other states it didn’t even warrant a mention.

    • “….As for my Savanna speech, about which so much has been said and in regrd to which I am represented as setting forth “slavery” as the “corner-stone” of the Confederacy, it is proper for me to state that that speech was extemporaneous, the reporter’s notes, which were very imperfect, were hastily corrected by me; and were published without further revision and with several glaring errors. The substance of what I said on slavery was, that on the points under the old Constitution out of which so much discussion, agitation, and strife between the States had arisen, no future contention could arise, as these had been put to rest by clear language. I did not say, nor do I think the reporter represented me as saying, that there was the slightest change in the new Constitution from the old regarding the status of the African race amongst us. (Slavery was without doubt the occasion of secession; out of it rose the breach of compact, for instance, on the part of several Northern States in refusing to comply with Constitutional obligations as to rendition of fugitives from service, a course betraying total disregard for all constitutional barriers and guarantees.)

      I admitted that the fathers, both of the North and the South, who framed the old Constitution, while recognizing existing slavery and guarnateeing its continuance under the Constitution so long as the States should severally see fit to tolerate it in their respective limits, were perhaps all opposed to the principle. Jefferson, Madison, Washington, all looked for its early extinction throughout the United States. But on the subject of slavery – so called – (which was with us, or should be, nothing but the proper subordination of the inferior African race to the superior white) great and radical changes had taken place in the realm of thought; many eminent latter-day statesmen, philosophers, and philanthropists held different views from the fathers.

      The patriotism of the fathers was not questioned, nor their ability and wisdom, but it devolved on the public men and statesmen of each generation to grapple with and solve the problems of their own times.

      The relation of the black to the white race, or the proper status of the coloured population amongst us, was a question now of vastly more importance than when the old Constitution was formed. The order of subordination was nature’s great law; philosophy taught that order as the noraml condition of the African amongst European races. Upon this recognized principle of a proper subordination, let it be called slavery or what not, our State institutions were formed and rested. The new Confederation was entered into with this distinct understanding. This principle of the subordination of the inferior to the superior was the “corner-stone” on which it was formed. I used this metaphor merely to illustrate the firm convictions of the framers of the new Constitution that this relation of the black to the white race, which existed in 1787, was not wrong in itself, either morally or politically; that it was in conformity to nature and best for both races. I alluded not to the principles of the new Government on this subject, but to public sentiment in regard to these principles. The status of the African race in the new Constitution was left just where it was in the old; I affirmed and meant to affirm nothing else in this Savannah speech.

      My own opinion of slavery, as often expressed, was that if the institution was not the best, or could not be made the best, for both races, looking to the advancement and progress of both, physically and morally, it ought to be abolished. It was far from being what it might and ought to have been. Education was denied. This was wrong. I ever condemned the wrong. Marriage was not recognized. This was a wrong that I condemned. Many things connected with it did not meet my approval but excited my disgust, abhorrence, and detestation. The same I may say of things connected with the best institutions in the best communities in which my lot has been cast. Great improvements were, however, going on in the condition of blacks in the South. Their general physical condition not only as to necessaries but as to comforts was better in my own neighbourhood in 1860, than was that of the whites when I can first recollect, say 1820. Much greater would have been made, I verily believe, but for outside agitation. I have but small doubt that education would have been allowed long ago in Georgia, except for outside pressure which stopped internal reform…….”

      • Source: Recollections of Alexander H. Stephens edited by Myrta Lockett Avary
        Originally published by Sunny South Publishing Company and Doubleday, Page & Company, 1910

  14. Just musing and pondering how much time and energy we have all spent discussing, debating, arguing for and against things that NEVER EXISTED… YOU know, kinda like we went to war in Iraq for WMD’s that were never there… and by the way, we want your oil…

    • LOL! It’s amazing how wrapped up everyone gets in things that should be a non issue rather than facing things that actually occur/ed. That’s what prompted this article over a year ago when I wrote it, everyone trying to sidetrack the flag discussion with claims about Thompson that were pulled from questionable thin air.

  15. Bravo.. the ancient symbol of worship in Hindu cultures was just that ..a symbol of worship ..but today if those who practiced Hinduism were to display it proudly as a part of their religious heritage,many would be deeply offended…it is not the heritage of the symbol, but what it has become that affects those about us… perhaps the battle flag was only the symbol of a rebellious people,but what it has represented to millions over the past 155 years has redefined or refined its symbolic meaning … in the face of its historic effect on many, it now carries the heritage of burning crosses (what’s wrong with the symbol of Christ ??? Just adding fire, right ??)… of a divisive very painful, murderous and bloody past that has forever scarred a nation so great…outside of the “southern” amnesia of mint juleps, and happy “slaves??” As just another part of the family ??, and the realization of the crimes against humanity … other American citizens … under the arrogance of this symbol …it seems that we as a nation should find some level of disgust, and need to heal from this great sin that so tainted the soil of such a great country, not find some perverse way to forget the facts and pretend that it’s just a sentiment of times past… oh by the way .the Hindu symbol mentioned earlier became the symbol of tyranny, evil and mass murder under the Nazis, in a modern age. The swastika, like the battle flag, is a symbol of great suffering of the innocent.. for the record I’m a pure bred Georgia southerner … just not one that “overlooks” the great harm this symbol represents historically to other Americans over the past 155 years

    • The Hindu version of the symbol doesn’t look nearly as much like the Nazi flag as the Buddhist version… which still looks different from the Nazi flag. I would support Hindus or Buddhists who wish to get the truth of the background of that symbol out as well.

      How do you figure that the Confederate flags have done more harm than, for example, the American flag? After all, that’s the flag that would have been flown on slave ships and over the country for the majority of our history of slavery? It seems your entire argument hinges on the idea that the war was strictly about subjugating fellow humans in slavery and it was not.

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