You are indeed free to follow Southern mythology all that you wish - I prefer to follow facts.
It is not for any want of tearing down the South that I grew up in and love that I seek the facts with regards to Confederate flags, but only to seek HOW they really came about and WHY they really came about. You seek to follow lore and I seek to follow how this actually hapened based on the words of the men that created these flags. If you are a true historian then this is the only way to go.
1) St. Andrews Cross flags - in all of the years of research that I have done along these lines, I have not seen this pattern of flag called "the St. Andrews cross" by the men that made it, or more correctly, the man that made it - William Porcher Miles. Miles, knowing heraldry very well, called it a "saltire," its proper heraldic term. The use of "St. Andrews Cross' does not come until the very late 19th Century and into the 20th Century. The other major period term for this flag was "Southern Cross." The press, the troops, etc. of the time called it this and a perusal of period newspapers and letters will bear this out.
So let's examine this myth about St. Andrew that Glenn seeks to hang on to. It is based on the belief that most Southeners were of Celtic-Scots heritage which, if you deal with anyone that has done professional geneaology, is not even close to the truth. The South was overwhlemingly English in heritage and, as such, whatever symbolism is used, it will come from that cultural basis, as indeed it did.
Thus, if the South was this massive enclave of Celtics-Scots and believers in the crucifixion of St. Andrew, one would think that this symbol would be all over the place - and yet it was not! I was raised in the Christian church (Methodist) and I had never even been told of St. Andrew until I became a flag historian and learned of this story through that. Why not? Because his story is really only something dealt with in the Church of Scotland, one of two forerunners of the Episcopalian Church (the other being the Anglican Church). I don't know of any Baptists or Catholics, etc. that deal with St. Andrew at all.
I, too, used to believe in this story until I started digging deeper into how these flags came about and once I did not find a single shread of periodic evidence to support the story, I moved it over to the "mythology" pile, where it will remain for me. As a trained journalist, I was taught to follow facts and see where they lead, a manner that I use in all of my historical research. I have never had "agendas" that perpetrate many journalists and historians today - I don't believe in them! So imagine my surprise when I found the book of the Committee on Flag and Seal in the National Archives (also redone as the Documentary on the Flag and Seal of the Confederate States of America by Raphael P. Thian not long after the war) and found Miles' own words with regards to this "Southern Cross flag. Miles, the man who submitted such a flag for consideration to his committee for the First National flag, called it one that lacked anything "ecclesiastical" about it - thus there is NO connection to the St. Andrew crucifixion whatsoever! Additionally, his design, which only had 7 stars at the time (it is duplicated in Devereaux Cannon's book of CS flags), was derisively called, "a pair of blue suspenders." Miles was of French Hugenot heritage by the way and Episcopalian.
Miles, tired of the flack he has taken from the Jews and Christians about flags with the St. George's/Latin crosses, simply created his design by tilting the cross, which removed any objections to it by these groups (as his letter stated at the time). When he was on Beauregard's staff in September, 1861, and the generals were chatting about making a "war flag" for the then Army of the Potomac, the commander of the Washington Artillery of New Orleans handed over a design for such a flag by Edward Hancock (copy in the files of Memorial hall) that used the St. George's cross and the varying state coats of arms in the upper left quadrant. Miles objected to this and, no doubt, informed the others of his own experience as the chairman of the flag committee and, pulled out his own rejected submission. With the Confederacy now at 12 members (Missouri having been seated) Miles' design was chosen as it now looked better than it did with only 7 stars. The flags were square because military flags had always been square, at least back into the 1600's.
But - how could this be if this was such a powerful "symbol" in the South what with the story of St. Andrew and their blood pumping with Celtic-Scots DNA????? How could Miles' flag be called a "pair of blue suspenders" if it was such a powerful symbol of the South???
Because it wasn't is why.
Let's look, then, at Thian's book on the Committee of Flag and Seal (which you can also see the original via color copies at the NA - the actual book is now too fragile), which I did for the second time while at Duke University last week (the first time was 12 years ago). I went through all of the drawings from every submission and made note of their overall designs in terms of what they were based upon. These are the drawings of flags, and in some cases small flags themselves, submitted to Miles' committee (as well as later committees) to chose the First, Second and Third National Confederate flags along with their supporting correspondence from those that made the submissions as well as period newspaper articles with regards to many of them.
The flags can be broken down into these categories (let me define these - each category is where the design is dominant over anything else that might be part of that flag submission - thus there were designs that crossed over and used other symbols but the overall design was still under one cataegory - but the flag had to be at least 51 per cent dominated by the category to be placed in that category):
A) Flags based on the Stars and Stripes/US flag
(Some of these based on red, white and blue colors, with stripes, cantons, and some had the St. George's Cross with stars)
B) Flags with a saltire/Southern Cross
C) flags with a Latin/St. George's Cross
D) Unique designs
(some with crosses and stars, plus the cotton plant on quite a few, as well as the sun for the "sunny South" on several - at least one had a horse on it!)
E) flags with a lone star
F) flags with a crescent
G) Second National
H) Third National
Here is my design submission count by the above categories:
A) 104 flags of this style submitted
B) 6 flags of this style submitted
C) 33 flags of this style submitted
D) 55 flags of this style submitted
E) 2 flags of this style submitted
F) 2 flags of this style submitted
G) 3 flags of this style submitted
H) 4 flags of this style submitted
So here we have the sentiment of Southerners in 1861 based on their hopes and dreams of their new nation - and what do we find? That, overwhelmingly, the flags that they wanted to see flying over their new nation was to be one patterned after the US flag!!!!!! That, of course, is exactly what they will get with the First National, designed, as Miles stated, by the committee itself.
But let's look at the two categories where crosses are dominant on the design - and we can see that the English cultural heritage overwhelms the saltire pattern by over five to one!!!!! Thus, if the story of St. Andrew was SO powerful in the South at the time, then why didn't his cross dominate the other crosses submitted to the Committee of Flag and Seal?????
The answer is simple - because his story is a post-war attempt by the Lost Cause proponents to attach some level of Christianity to their cause. I can find nothing of this in the 1861 writings of Confederates that had anything to do with flag creation, mainly Miles and Beauregard. And these are the only two men that really count here.
Glenn mentions that the South was/is very religious. So is/was the North - and actually, so is America as a whole even today. Which brings me to Point Two:
2) Glenn mentions the Latin/Christian cross flags of the 31st Alabama and those made by Belle Edmondson for Price's Missourians (later known as the Bowen pattern - white cross on a blue field with red border) as proof of this religious fervor in the Confederacy. We can add in those for John Breckinridge's Division issued in May, 1862 and used until aometime into 1863 at least.
I have in my files a letter from a soldier of the 27th Arkansas Infantry to his wife date April 25th, 1863. In the upper left corner of his letter is his drawing of the new Bowen pattern flag issued to his regiment. He states, "If you will look about the senter of hit you will see the roman catholic cross which you know don't suit a man of my principles. I don't like this flag and don't care who knows hit becaus I am as far from being a roman catholic as any man that ever was born."
Thus, you cannot make a blanket statement that because the South was so deeply rooted in religion that they used flags with Latin crosses when there is period evidence from not only the Charleston Jewish community (whose letter from Charles Moise reached Miles) as well as from fundamentalist Protestant churches (whose letetrs also reached Miles - See Robert Bonner's terrifically researched book "Colors And Blood" for more of this) - and now we have the sentiment from this Arkansas soldier, obviously a Protestant, that is contrary to what Glenn thinks happened.
These flags worked for some, did not work for others, and to make a blanket statement about them is historically innaccurate. The South was not then, and is not now, a uni-thinking monolith and if you want contemporary proof of that then watch SEC football!
3) Lastly, the Buckner Hardee flag creation. Glenn seeks to attack the memory of the ONLY man that made a claim to creating these flags. Yet let's look at the evidence before us once again:
A) He was Inspector General and defacto commander of the Kentucky State Guard. The KSG used flags that were blue with a lighter blue circle in their center bearing the US Coat of Arms. The post-war modern state flag of KY is blue with a white center bearing the KY Coat of Arms. Thus, it is not a far reach at all to create flags based on something that was familiar to the KY troops - and it was a needed symbol for the Confederates to try and get MORE KY troops on their side!
B) Buckner took the KY troops that formed in Tennessee (Camps Boone and Burnett) to Bowling Green, which became the basis for the Army of Central Kentucky in early September, 1861. With additional TN and MS troops, this became Buckner's Division of that army. Almost the entire officer corps of these KY regiments had been in the KSG as had many of the non-com and enlisted men.
C) BG was not a large town back then (only a thousand people or so, if that) and thus his wife moved in the same circles as did Mrs. Samuel Blackburn, who rented her house to AS Johnston for his HQ. I have evidence that Blackburn and her daughters helped make the battle flags of this army during the Winter of 1861-1862 and it is not unbelievable that Mrs. Buckner helped make them.
D) Buckner took half of his division to Ft. Donelson in early February, 1862, and flags of this type were captured there from his command. When the Army of Central KY fell back from Bowling Green, Buckner's remaining troops fell into Hardee's command. This corps would continue to use these flags until the end of 1863, when they were replaced (save for Cleburne's Division) with rectangular Southern Cross battle flags made by the Augusta Depot. Hardee only claims to have "adopted" this flag - which is FAR different from "creating" the flag. And indeed Hardee did adopt the flag as we know.
E) So we again have the right man making the only claim for the creation of this flag, in the right place at the right time with the right troops who he had largely commanded before the war that used a similar flag - and you still want to go with bashing the guy's memory and some Irish myth?
I saw a friend of mine get run over by a car 18 years ago and I can assure you that I see it in my mind EXACTLY as it happened that day to the point of what color his shirt and slacks were, the color of the car that hit him, what lane of the road he was in, etc. So why cannot Buckner be trusted?
I am a historian, not a perpetuator of myths. I used to belive in the St. Andrews story when I started down this flag path some 15 years ago and now I do not because I have found no evidence whatsoever from the 1860-1861 time frame that supports it, particularly in the words of the two men that created and helped perpetuate the flag designs - Miles and Beauregard (Joe Johnston was also involved but his correspondence on the topic pales by comparison). So based on the evidence that I have found, and I can categorically state is accepted by even Southern born flag historians like Devereaux Cannon and Ken Legendre, among others, the myth of St. Andrew is just that - a myth, in terms of his story having anything to do with these flags.
It does not matter one whit where you were born anyway as no one has control over that - it is what you do with yourself afterwards that matters. I have never been told there was some sort of "birthplace litmus test" that you had to pass before you could research and write history. If that were the case, then the work of my friend Ron Field, who is British and one of the leading historians in the world on South Carolina troops of the Civil War, would be meaningless!!! It is not - and he is not! If only having Southern birth allows you to be THE historian of CSA flags, then why do we all bow down to Howard Madaus of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who is not only the first historian ever to do scholarly work on Confederate flags, but knows more than any combination of flag historians of the era that I can think of?
So let's knock this crap off for good right here and now! Who gives a damn where you were born?
I have worked my butt off building a reputation as a solid historian based on facts that I have dug deeply for over the last 15 years. I owe a lot to men like Ken Legendre and the late Richard Rollins as well as Devereaux Cannon and Howard Madaus. It is this reputation that gets me research work for authors and consulting jobs for others, especially with regards to Confederate flags. I get them because I know what I am talking about and it is based on solid research. One can deal with myths in this context as part of the historical record and I have no problem with that - so long as it is reported as a myth. As I have stated already, Devereaux Cannon and I will be tackling the myths of Orren Randolph Smith and Nicola Marschall with regards to their claims of designing the First National flag when we do our book on those flags. We will be labelling their stories as myths - for that is what they are.
Glenn, sometimes the answer is right in front of our noses and it can be as simple as a butterlfy in flight. I have a historian friend that has the uncanny kanck of pointing out simple things that are pertinent even if you have gone over the source material a hundred times - and I have the greatest respect for him for that ability! Thus, Miles tilting the cross of St. George, to which he was catching a lot of flack for in early 1861, can indeed be as simple as that - just tilting the cross to make something else. His own words of the time also prove that this is what he did with his statement that there was nothing "ecclesiastical" about the flag.
So take the statements of these men who were there at the right place and time, for what they are. You should always question accounts, but when the evidence lines up to support someone's statements, then that is probably what actually happened and that is what a good historian goes with.
I have no time for myths, except to report them for what they are. As Jack Webb used to say in "Dragnet, "just the facts ma'am!"