On May 20, 1861, the day that the secession resolution was adopted by the state of North Carolina, an ordinance to adopt a North Carolina state flag was presented by Colonel John D. Whitford. The original ordinance stated, "…the flag of this State shall be a blue field with a white V thereon, and a star, encircling the words, "Sirgit astrum", May 20, 1775."
The design intended by this original description for the North Carolina state flag was never to be. Whitford and his committee consulted an artist from Raleigh, William Jarl Browne. Browne prepared a model for a North Carolina state flag and submitted it to the committee for approval. The "Browne" state flag was far removed from what was described in the original proposal, even so, the North Carolina Convention approved it on June 22, 1861.
The proposal for the North Carolina state flag provided by Browne and adopted by the Convention was described as having a red field with two bars making up the fly: the top bar blue and the bottom bar white. Centered on the red field was a white five-pointed star. Above the star in a semi-circular mold was the date May 20, 1775, representing the "Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence". Below the star was the date May 20, 1861, signifying the date of North Carolina's secession from the Union. The North Carolina Regiments, along with the Confederate colors throughout the Civil War, carried this flag.
After the war, North Carolina adopted a revised design for their state flag. In March of 1865, a bill was passed and the design of the North Carolina State Flag changed from red to blue. The top bar of the fly was changed from blue to red. The gilt letters "N" and "C" were placed on either side of the white star and gilt scrolls were added above and below the star. The scroll above remains displayed as the date of the "Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence", but the date displayed in black letters on the lower scroll displays the date of the "Hallifax Resolves" April 12, 1776; instead of May 20, 1861, the date of secession.
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