Pope Pius IX During the Civil War

by fifer1863 on September 28, 2015

Pope Pius IXOver the past few days, Pope Francis has been visiting the United States and talking to families, prisoners and politicians.  During the Civil War, politicians also sought the guidance and support of Pope Pius IX.

Pius IX was Pope from June 161846 to his death in 1878. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council (1869–70), which decreed papal infallibility.


In 1863, Pius IX sent a letter addressed to the “Illustrious and Hon. Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, Richmond,” and concluded with a hope for a union in “perfect friendship.”  Jefferson Davis took this letter as a form of recognition for the Confederacy and the letter was reported in Southern newspapers with the ideas that His Holiness supported the Confederacy.

The following is the letter from His Holiness Pope Pius IX to Jefferson Davis:

Illustrious and honorable sir, greeting:

We have lately received with all kindness, as was meet, the gentlemen sent by your Excellency to present to us your letter dated on the 23d of last September. We have received certainly no small pleasure in learning both from these gentlemen and from your letter the feelings of gratification and of very warm appreciation with which you, illustrious and honorable sir, were moved when you first had knowledge written in October of the preceding year to the venerable brethren, John [Hughes], archbishop of New York, and John [Odin], archbishop of New Orleans, in which we again and again urged and exhorted those venerable brethren that because of their exemplary piety and episcopal zeal they should employ their most earnest efforts, in our name also, in order that the fatal civil war which had arisen in the States should end, and that the people of America might again enjoy mutual peace and concord, and love each other with mutual charity. And it has been very gratifying to us to recognize illustrious and honorable sir, that you and your people are animated by the same desire for peace and tranquillity, which we had so earnestly inculcated in our aforesaid letters to the venerable brethren above named. May it please God at the same time to make the other peoples of America and their rulers, considering seriously how cruel and how deplorable is this internecine war, would receive and embrace the counsels of peace and tranquillity. We indeed shall not cease with most fervent prayer to beseech God, the best and highest, and to implore Him to pour out the spirit of Christian love and peace upon all the people of America, and to rescue them from the great calamities with which they are afflicted. We, at the same time, beseech the God of pity to shed abroad upon you the light of His grace, and attach you to us by a perfect friendship.

Given at Rome at St. Peter’s on the 3d December, 1863, in the eighteenth year of our pontificate.
Illustrious and Hon. Jefferson Davis


The following is a letter that Confederate President Jefferson Davis sent appointing A. Dudley Mann as a special envoy to the Holy See.

A Dudley MannJefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, to
A. Dudley Mann, greeting.

Reposing special trust and confidence in your prudence, integrity, and ability, I do appoint you, the said A. Dudley Mann, special envoy of the Confederate States of America, to proceed to the Holy See and to deliver to its most venerable chief, Pope Pius IX, sovereign pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, a communication which I have addressed to his Holiness under date of the twenty-third of this month.

Given under my hand and the seal of the Confederate States of America at the city of Richmond, this 24th day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three.




History of Confederate Flags and a Giveaway

by fifer1863 on April 8, 2014

The following is a guest post from Michael Cronin who is the Founder and CEO of Gettysburg Flag Works 


When we think of American flags, “red, white and blue” is probably the first thing that comes to mind. When it comes to civil war flags, this is still the case, but the faithful red, white and blue took on a couple of different forms. The Confederate States of America actually adopted three unique flag patterns, one in 1861, another in 1863 and the third in 1865.

First National Confederate FlagThe first Confederate flag, known as the “First National” pattern, or “Stars and Bars”, was most similar in style to the American flag with which we’re familiar today. It featured horizontal stripes, but instead of thirteen like the traditional American flag, this version only had three stripes with two red stripes on the top and bottom, a white stripe in the middle, and a blue area in the upper left corner. This blue region included a circle of white stars that represented the Confederate states at that time: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. Eventually, the flag was modified to have up to 13 stars. This flag was flown above the Capitol at Montgomery, Alabama, when the Provisional Congress met before the bombardment of Fort Sumter in April, 1861 and is known as the official flag of the Confederacy

In 1863, the Confederacy adopted the “Second National” pattern, which was also referred to as the “Stainless Banner”. This civil war flag was first used on the casket of Stonewall Jackson. One reason for the change from the prior flag was that some thought that it was too similar to the “Stars and Stripes” and that it was too easy for soldiers to be confused on the battlefield. In essence, this design was the battle flag for the Army of Northern Virginia (a red square with a blue “X” marked with stars, also known as the Southern Cross) on a white field. It also incorporates 13 stars to include the additions of Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. This flag came to prominence based on the fame of the armies of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Lee’s army had achieved reputation for success and heroism, and it used the Southern Cross battle flag as its symbol. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard once said that the battle flag was “consecrated by the best blood of our country on so many battlefields.”

Third Flag_of_the_Confederate_States_of_America

The Third National pattern was similar to the Second National pattern, but with a smaller white field and the addition of a red vertical stripe on the
right. The purpose of this was that with the Second National pattern, when the wind wasn’t carrying the flag and it hung limply, it appeared to be the white flag of surrender. However, there were not too many of these flags in service during the war. It was adopted on March 4, 1865, and Gen. Lee’s army surrendered at Appomattox just a few weeks later.

A lesser-known flag was never formally adopted by the Confederate government, but was adopted by the people and incorporated in five southern states in 1861. This one was the “Lone Star Flag” or the “Bonnie Blue Flag”, which was solid blue with a single white star in the center. This flag was used by independence-seeking groups and achieved popularity in the South in 1861. It included West Florida and Texas. The Bonnie Blue Flag was raised over the state capitol when Mississippi adopted an ordinance of secession.

Regardless of your favorite version, the American Civil War and the flags that represented it have earned a permanent spot in our history books. Despite the complex and controversial causes of the American Civil War (slavery, states’ rights, and sectionalism to name a few), it will still go down in history as one of the deadliest wars in American history. This bloody 4-year conflict took approximately 750,000 soldiers and an irresolute number of civilian lives. Historians estimate that the death toll consumed 10% of all Northern males between the ages of 20 and 45 years old and 30% of Southern males between the age of 18 and 40.

It’s been said “the Civil War was one of the most defining moments in our history and no event since our nation began has had such an impact, both positive and negative, on all aspects of American life.” This war has impacted the government, the power of the President, the economy, the role of women in society, African Americans, and so much more.  It is for these, and many other important reasons, that the American Civil War is such an important lesson in US history.


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Creating Then & Now Images Video

Gettysburg Moments Facebook Group

 Stonewall Jackson info from the Civil War Trust

Virginia Military Institute Primary Sources

The Stonewall Jackson Home

Stonewall Jackson information from Bucknell University

Stonewall Jackson Biography