Witnessing History

The Southern Cross: The Story of the Confederacy’s First Battleflag

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 The Southern Cross: The Story of the Confederacy’s First Battleflag is the fifty-six minute production that chronicles the history of the design and creation of a flag that became the prototype for all of the St. Andrews Cross battle flags carried by Confederate armed forces.  The hand-stitched silk flag with gold painted stars was borne by the Fifth Company of the Washington Artillery of New Orleans through the Battles of Shiloh and Perryville.

The story of the flag’s creation will surprise and delight viewers everywhere.  The flag was designed and made for the army after the first battle of Manassas as a military necessity and wholly without the authority or even the knowledge of the Confederate government.  Mary Henry Lyon Jones of Richmond, Virginia stitched the flag together.  After Generals P.G.T. Beauregard and Joseph E. Johnston approved Ms. Jones’s flag, sewing circles of more than four hundred women in Richmond sewed 120 flags made from Ms. Jones’s original design.

A collection of photographic images of the officers and men of the Fifth Company, along with a rich collection of documents, has been assembled.  Action scenes were filmed at Waveland Historic Site in Lexington, Kentucky on August 26, 2012, depicting Mary Henry Lyon Jones being given the design for the flag and stitching the prototype, and, the Richmond sewing circles stitching the 120 battle flags to be given to the army in November 1861.  Seven lovely ladies from the Vintage Dance Society of Lexington appeared in their gowns and hoop skirts.  They were wonderful!  The day before, scenes were filmed of the 5th Company of the Washington Artillery of New Orleans in battle carrying Mary Henry Lyon Jones’s flag, and the flag being given to Lt. Thomas Blair by Capt. Cuthbert Slocum to be taken home to Mobile, Alabama.  The Executive Producer of the documentary is Lon W. Keim, M.D. of Omaha, Nebraska.

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