History of The Confederate Flag
During the Civil War, many Southern states left the Union.  These Confederate
or "Rebel" states wanted their own flag to fly.  The first Rebel flag that flew
over the Confederacy, was the Bonnie Blue. The Bonnie Blue was never
adopted by the confederacy, but it was loved by the people.  Officially, the first
Rebel flag was the Stars and Bars. The Stars and Bars flew from March 1861
to May of 1863. Unfortunately this Rebel flag looked too much like the Union's
Stars and Stripes.  The Confederate states decided to look further for a more
unique design.
Bonnie Blue Flag
Stars and Bars (7 stars)
First Confederate Flag
The best-known Rebel flag is the Confederate Battle Flag, also known as the
"Southern Cross". The Battle flag was carried by Confederate troops during
battle.  On May 1st,1863, the second Confederate flag design was adopted,
placing the Battle Flag as the canton on a white field. It was named The
Stainless Banner.  This Rebel flag was mistaken for a truce flag in calm
weather, since it would just hang with mostly white showing. This led the
Confederacy to create the third Official Rebel flag. On March 4th,1865, a new
pattern was adapted.  It was the same as the previous design, but with a wide,
red stripe on the fly end.  The third flag did not last long, since the war came to
an end.  It was called the Last Confederate flag.
Confederate Battle Flag
or Southern Cross
The Stainless Banner
The Confederate Battle flag is the most recognized Rebel flag.  Many people
know it from the Dukes of Hazzard TV show. The Rebel flag was painted on
the top of the Duke Boys' car, the General Lee. The Confederate flag has also
appeared on several southern state flags at one time or another.  The only
state to keep the Rebel flag as part of their state flag presently, is Mississippi.
Last Confederate Flag
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Below are the flags that the Confederacy used and a history of that flag.

The Bonnie Blue Flag
The first recorded use of the Bonnie Blue lone star flag dates to 1810. On
September 11, 1810 a troop of West Florida dragoons set out for the
provincial capitol at Baton Rouge under this Bonnie Blue flag. They were joined
by other republican forces and captured Baton Rouge, imprisoned the
Governor and on September 23, 1810 raised their Bonnie Blue flag over the
Fort of Baton Rouge. Three days later the president of the West Florida
Convention, signed a Declaration of Independence and the Bonnie Blue
became the emblem of a new republic. By December 10, the flag of the United
States replaced the Bonnie Blue after President Madison issued a
proclamation declaring West Florida under the jurisdiction of the Governor of
the Louisiana Territory. With this rebellion in mind, this Bonnie Blue flag was
used by the Republic of Texas from 1836 to 1839. On January 9, 1861 the
convention of the People of Mississippi adopted an Ordinance of Secession.
With this announcement the Bonnie Blue flag was raised over the capitol
building in Jackson. Harry McCarthy was so inspired that he wrote a song
entitled "The Bonnie Blue Flag" which became the second most popular
patriotic song of the Confederacy. The Confederate government did not adopt
Bonnie Blue, but the people did and the lone star flags were adopted in some
form in five of the southern States that adopted new flags in 1861. The lone
star concept of the Bonnie Blue was twofold. Some states looked at it as a
reversal of the US Flag Act of 1818, which is still in effect today. That allows a
new star to be added to the flag the 4th of July following the admission of a
new state to the Union. Hence, some states looked at single star flags, like the
Bonnie Blue, as "taking their star out of the Union".

The First Confederate Stars and Bars
The first official flag of the confederacy was the Stars and Bars, and was
reported to the provisional congress of the C.S.A. by the flag committee on
March 4,1861.  When the Stars and Bars was first raised over the capitol
building in Montgomery, it contained seven stars, representing the Confederate
States. By the third week of May two more stars were added to the Stars and
Bars, representing Virginia and Arkansas. In July the addition of North Carolina
and Tennessee increased the number to eleven and finally the admission of
Kentucky and Missouri in December brought the circle of stars on the Stars
and Bars to thirteen.  The "Stars and Bars" is believed have been designed by
Nicola Marschall, a Prussian Artist and to have been inspired by the Austrian
flag. The Stars and Bars appears in many variations with stars ranging from 7
to 15 stars. The seven stars represent the original Confederate States; South
Carolina (December 20, 1860), Mississippi (January 9, 1861),Florida (January
10,1861),Alabama (January 11, 1861),Georgia (January 19, 1861),Louisiana
(January 26,1861),and Texas (February 1, 1861). There were 11 states that
seceded from the Union, 2 (Kentucky and Missouri that had confederate and
union governments), 1 (Maryland) that attempted to secede but whose
legislature was disbanded by federal officials and was unable to join the
confederacy, even though it furnished more troops to the cause then at least
one member of that country and 1 slave state (Delaware) that remained loyal
to the union.
The reason for the variations in number of stars in the Stars and Bars was due
to lack of centralized purchasing. The original Stars and Bars had 7 stars and
more were added as additional states joined and the flag makers became
aware of the number of states.
The Stars and Bars was used as the official Rebel flag from March 1861 to
May of 1863. The pattern and colors of the Stars and Bars did not distinguish
it sharply from the Stars and Stripes of the Union. Consequently, considerable
confusion was caused on the battlefield.  So, the Stars and Bars was replaced
by the Stainless Banner in 1863.

The Confederate Battle Flag or Southern Cross
The best-known Confederate flag was the Battle Flag, or "Southern Cross".  
The Battle Flag was designed due to the fact that the "Stars and Bars" was so
similar to the "Stars and Stripes" . This Battle Flag was agreed upon.  Other
flags such as State regimental colors were used by the Confederacy on the
battlefield, but the Battle Flag, although it was never officially recognized by
the Confederate government, came to represent the Southern "cause" to most
people. The square Battle Flag was carried by Confederate troops in the field
which were the vast majority of forces under the confederacy.

Used as a navy jack at sea from 1863 onward, the rectangular Battle Flag
pictured above has become the generally recognized symbol of the South.
Many recognize the Battle Flag from the Dukes of Hazard. The Battle Flag
was painted on the top of their car. The Battle Flag has also appeared on
several southern state flags at one time.  It continues to be a part of the
Mississippi state flag.

The Confederate "Stainless Banner" Flag
Not more then a year after the adoption of the Stars and Bars flag, the
Confederacy wanted to create a flag that was unlike the Union's Stars and
Stripes flag. Adopted on May 1, 1863 this new flag displayed the Battle Flag in
the canton on a field of pure white, naming it "Stainless Banner". The specs
were not very strictly adhered to and in many cases the Stainless Banner
canton was rectangular. The white field of the Stainless Banner flag is
symbolic for the purity of the cause which it represented.
One of the first uses for the Stainless Banner was to drape General Thomas
J. "Stonewall" Jackson's coffin.  By order of the President, the first Stainless
Banner manufactured, laid atop his coffin. This "Stainless Banner" is now on
display in the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond.
Unfortunately, the Stainless Banner was easily mistaken for a white flag of
surrender especially when the air was calm and the Stainless Banner hung
limply.  So, the Stainless Banner was modified to include a red bar on the fly.  
Thus giving us the Last Confederate Flag.

The Last Confederate Flag
Due to the fact that the Stainless Banner's pure white field could be mistaken
for a flag of surrender, on March 4, 1865 the Last Confederate flag was
adopted. The Last Confederate flag was exactly the same as its predecessor,
except for one detail.  This Last Confederate flag design added a red bar to
the fly end of the white field. With this adjustment, the Last Confederate flag
would not be mistaken for a truce flag.  The Last Confederate flag flew for
thirty six days in 1865 until the South surrendered on April 9th.

Information Source:  http://arebelflag.net/index.htm
Stars and Bars (13 stars)
First Confederate Flag