Notes and Documents
A Fifteen-Star Texas Flag: A Banner Used
at the Time of Secession-February i86z
and March i86z
FRANK WILSON KIEL*
T EXAS SECEDED FROM THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND BECAME
one of the Confederate States of America in 1861. A period of five
weeks passed between the Ordinance of Secession, which was signed on
February 1, 1861, and admission to the Confederacy on March 2,
What flag was used during this period? The United States flag was
inappropriate given the prevailing sentiment for secession.
Reintroduction of the Lone Star flag of the First Republic (1839-1845)
would have solved the problem; probably many of the old flags were
accessible from storage. The Bonnie Blue Flag (a single white star on a
* Frank Wilson Kiel, M.D., LL.B., M.S.B.A., lives near Comfort, Texas. He was a physician in
the United States Army 1954 to 1978. Afterward came civilian practice in Houston 1978 to
1984, and then international service in Saudi Arabia 1984 to gg99o. Current professional activity
includes: hospital pathology practice in Houston, consultant appointment to Veterans
Administration Hospital in Kerrville, Clinical Associate Professor at University of Texas Health
Science Center-San Antonio, and Pathologists Overseas medical volunteer in Madagascar.
1 Confederate States of America, Acts and Resolutions of the Frst Session of the Provisional Congress
of the Confederate States 186z (Montgomery, Ala.: Barrett, Wimbish, and Company, 1861), 35
(microfilm; Government Documents Section, Fondren Library, Rice University, Houston, Texas).
Philatelists call this period the Texas Second Republic or the Independent State of Texas.
Although there are no distinctive stamps for the time, covers postmarked with canceled United
States stamps are considered a distinct category because of the unique postmark dates. See Brian
M. Green, "Independent State Usage to a Texas Patriot," Texas Postal Hstory Society Journal, 2
(Sept., 1977), 16-17; Gordon Bleuler, "Texas Gems," Texas Postal Hstory Society Journal 6 (June,
1981), 7-9; and Bill H. Henderson, "Is the USPS in Texas Official?" Texas Postal Hstory Society
Journal, 14 (Feb., 1989), 9-1o. On one cover from Rose Hill, forty miles east of Huntsville, the
postmaster canceled the letter "Feb. 21, 1861" and wrote "Republic of Texas." See August Dietz,
The Postal Seroice of the Confederate States of America (Richmond: Press of the Dietz Printing Co.,
1929), 3o. The envelope addressed to Allen Congleton in Washington, D.C., was sold at New
York's Siegel Auction Galleries on February 25, 1994, for $2,3oo.
VOL. CIII, No. 3 SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY JANUARY, 2000
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101220/. Accessed July 5, 2015.