Bill Marx's Aug. 22 letter concerning display of the Confederate flag was both appropriate and trenchant. However, his reference to the commonly displayed flag, and the photo with the letter, as "stars and bars" is not historically accurate. The "Stars and Bars" was the first official Confederate flag. It had three broad horizontal bars, red over white over red, with a blue canton showing seven white stars. The rebel flag we most often see today was the Confederate battle flag, or the Southern Cross.
The "Stars and Bars" continued to be the flag of the Confederate States of America from 1861 until early 1863, but it was too easily confused from a distance or in battle with the "Stars and Stripes" flag of the Union, the United States of America.