General Leonidas Polk was the son of a distinguished Revolutionary War officer, and became one of South’s most beloved generals. His first cousin, James K. Polk, was the 11th President of the United States. Polk graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. One of his classmates was Robert E. Lee, who wrote that Polk was viewed “as a model for all that was soldierly, gentlemanly, and honorable.” Six months after graduating West Point Polk decided to take up the cloth as a clergyman, rising to Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Louisiana. Then, after many years as a minister, the Civil War began, and Polk put on his sword. The Polk Battle Flag takes after the well-known Southern Cross, but features an upright cross with the colors reversed, in reference to Polk’s career as a clergyman.
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