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The Confederate Congress appointed a committee on Flag and Seal chaired by William Porcher Miles of South Carolina to review scores of designs received from citizens of a flag that would be symbolic of the Confederacy's sovereignty. The selection process was lengthy, and when Provisional President Jefferson F. Davis was inaugurated on February 18, the Alabama state flag flew over the capitol, and a blue flag bearing the Georgia state seal was carried by Georgia infantry in the inaugural parade.

The design that Miles preferred was rejected by the committee, but variations were later adopted by Confederate armies to be their battle flags. There was a good deal of sentimental attachment to the "old flag," and a design similar to the Stars and Stripes, submitted by Orren Randolph Smith was finally selected. This flag, known as the Stars and Bars, had three broad horizontal stripes for the bars, with the top and bottom bars red and the middle bar white. A blue union in the corner bore a circle of seven stars, representing the seven seceded states that formed the Confederacy.

The new flag, adopted by the Confederate Congress on March 4, 1861, flew for the first time over the capitol that day. By December, the number of stars had grown to 13, four stars had been added for the states that seceded after Fort Sumter and two more were added for Kentucky and Missouri.



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