Shown is the state flag of Alabama, part of a pane of stamps showing the flags of each of the 50 states.
The Alabama State Flag was authorized by the Alabama Legislature on February 16, 1895, by Act number 383. According to the Acts of Alabama, 1895, the state flag was to be a crimson cross of St. Andrew on a field of white. The bars forming the cross were not to be less than six inches broad and were to extend diagonally across the flag from side to side. The act did not designate a square or a rectangular flag.
Over the years there has been much confusion and speculation over the shape of the Alabama state flag . Prior to publishing the 1915 Alabama Official and Statistical Register, Dr. Thomas Owen, director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History interviewed individuals who had been around at the time that the bill was introduced. He concluded that the flag was intended to “preserve in permanent form some of the more distinctive features of the Confederate battle flag, particularly the St. Andrew’s cross” Owen then made the conclusion that the flag should be square, based on the “regulations governing the Confederate battle flag.”
However, these regulations which applied to one version of the Army of Northern Virginia battle flag were not always followed by flag manufacturers during the Civil War and rectangular St. Andrew’s Cross battle flags were common in the Army of Tennessee. Furthermore, the earliest images of the state flag published soon after the adoption of the flag all depicted a rectangular flag.