An article in the March 2011 Alabama Living, Dixie Electric Cooperative Magazine, written by John Brightman Brock, tells about making the First Confederate Flag. With the Provisional Congress already formed, a Committee on Flag and Seal was appointed, and citizens were allowed to send in their favorite design. Bob Bradley, Chief archivist at ADAH said “it was kind of like a contest”. The number of designs was 141.
That was a bit overwhelming for the Committee and they chose only four to submit to the Confederate Congress.
The approved design was taken to George Cowles’ store at 49 Market street in Montgomery and made in two hours. Cowles was a Unionist so this was a very ironic situation.
A play has been made from all this, called “The Flag Maker of Market Street” and is showing at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery at the present time. A companion play, Blood Divided is also playing, both being commissioned because of the Sesquicentennial.
It was thought that the First Confederate flag was designed by local artist Nicola Marschall of Marion Alabama, but Bradley says not. Marschall did make the Marion Light Infantry Flag, used by the 4th Alabama, hoisted on the battlefield in Manassas, Va. That flag has been conserved and is at the ADAH and is now on display.
The First Confederate flag, as has been pointed out in previous blogs was first raised at the Alabama State Capitol on March 4, 1861 by Letitia Tyler, granddaughter of Pres. John Tyler. That was the same day that Lincoln was inaugurated.