Is this a picture of a flag used for prisoners of war in the civil war US?

+2 votes

Recently, the primary photo for a profile I manage was removed.  The photo is in the category of Civil War POW flags but I don't think it was when I originally used it.  Is this really a civil war POW flag?  There is no evidence that Daniel Patterson Armstrong was a POW. 

Civil War flag

WikiTree profile: Daniel Armstrong
in The Tree House by Kathy Zipperer G2G6 Pilot (276k points)

1 Answer

+3 votes

In short, the flag linked is not a POW flag form the civil war, and the image is more of a symbolic representation of the conflict (showing the South with the Second Confederate Navy Jack and the North with the Union Flag).

Random (yet related) History Notes (because I am weird like that):

  1. The National League of Families POW/MIA Flag was created in 1972 and was flown the first time at the White House in 1982. The flag has gone through numerous color revisions including red and white. In 1990 under U.S. Public Law 101-355, the National League of Families POW/MIA flag was officially recognized. While it remains a symbol for POW/MIAs from all U.S. wars, it was actually designated for those prisoners, missing and unaccounted for lives in Southeast Asia.
  2. The Union flag represented in the image appears incorrect, as it displays what appears to be 38 stars, instead of the 33, 34 or 35 stars that would been in use at the time.
  3. The official flag of the Confederacy was the original Stars and Bars (11 stars and 3 bars). The appearance was very similar to the Stars and Stripes of the Union, so the "battle flags" came forth. The most well known is the Confederate Navy Jack which was flown at sea - while the field battle flag was square (aka the Southern Cross). The two other iterations of the battle flag were the Southern Cross as the canton on a white field, and last a Southern Cross as the canton on a white field with a broad red bar on the fly end (termination).
by Steve Harris G2G6 Pilot (403k points)
Thanks Steven.   Well, this is a rabbit hole.  So, basically, this flag is incorrect since the Union portion is incorrect and is also categorized incorrectly here in WikiTree.  I knew there was a POW/MIA flag used in the 70's (but 1970's) not 1870's. And I also remember that it really started as a designation for the Vietnam war and encompassed the Korean war (just first hand remembrances which may be inaccurate.)

Do we have a correct union flag on Wikitree?

All of the flags in question can be found at: Space:US_Flags. The most appropriate for the profile in question would be US_Flags-16.png since it covers the period when this soldier enlisted and spent most of his time in the service.

There’s a difference between the uses of the Confederate battle flag and the government (civilian) flags. For infantry, it’s a version of the battle flag (Army of Northern Virginia was square and the size depended on the type of unit - large for Infantry, smaller for both cavalry and artillery; Army of Tennessee was rectangular). These are the flags that can and should be used for Confederate veterans.

The civilian flags (after the Stars and Bars) was the battle flag in the union and a white field, as Steven mentioned, and later in the war with the red bar on the fly end. These last two should not be used for veteran profiles.

While there were other military flags of various types, some using the Cross of St. Andrew, these were not widely used.

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