A Discussion of Flag Construction Techniques

The square flags are easier to make (ANV Richmond Depot style) - so long as they are made just like the Depot actually did! And square flags will use less red bunting than the rectangular AOT flags as well - thus it does save material. That was what Gen. Joe Johnston had in mind whe he proposed the square shape to begin with. Please keep in mind that he was the US Army quartermaster before the war and knew about making military equipment.
The ANV flags were made up as kits - then out sourced to be sewn together by ladies working for the depot. There were three red pieces of bunting (48 inches long by 18 inches wide for two and 48 by 12 for one - changed in mid-1863 to 9 inches, again to save material), three blue pieces of cross (one at 60 inches long by 5 inches wide and two 5 inches wide that were shorter - 8 inches wide for both sets if you are making a First Bunting flag), three pieces of white cotton border (if Third Bunting versions on - orange wool bunting or flannel if First or Second buntings) and these were 4 inches wide and 48 inches long, and finally one cotton canvas hoist edge that was also 48 by 4 inches. The 3 1/2 inch cotton stars were also included. The white edging of the cross was two long pieces of polished cotton folded where the cross right angles were.
ANV flags are sewn together in an overlap fashion - the only waste of material is when after the three red pieces of bunting are sewn together there is some cut out to fit to the completed cross. This makes 4 quadrants of red bunting that are slightly overlapped to the cross. The fimbration not only adds decorative appeal - but it is also a support structure for it is sewn over these seams adding strength to the flag's field. The rest is used up entirely with other than the trimming of the blue bunting cross at the outer corners of the flag. The borders are overlapped (two inches per side) in a sandwhich manner (and are NOT extensions of the field) and it typically starts with the top piece, then the fly edge, the bottom piece and finally the canvas hoist edge goes on last.
The flag was the only CS battle flag designed for mass production. The Charleston Depot flags went together in a mosaic pattern (even though they resembled the ANV flag) and the AOT flags did the same thing. Neither of these were mass production marvels like the ANV flag was.
In looking at their construction the ANV flags are definitely the easiest to put together - if they are put together just like the Richmond Depot did! Professional conservators and curators agree that the ANV flags were well designed for mass production compared to other St. Andrews cross flag patterns.
The ANV flags go together quite nicely -and the AOT flags are a nightmare!! The Dept. of Alabama, Mississippi & East Louisiana flags are similar in make to the AOT flags - difficult. This tells us why the Atlanta Depot did not have enough AOT flags made in time before Sherman began the Atlanta Campaign - and because of that about 5 AOT brigades had to draw flags from Polk's Army of Mississippi when they arrived in Georgia.

Biggsk@aol.com (Greg Biggs)
ruffinco@g-net.net (Soren Dresch)