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1st National Flag Confederate States of America

1st national

Size: 36" x 54"

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The flag which first flew over Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, SC in 1861.

The first flag of the Confederate States was known as the Stars and Bars.  On March 4,1861 a report was made to the provisional congress of the Confederate States by the committee on the flag.  The vote on the report was not recorded but the report was written into the journal of congress.  Many variations were used with varied number of stars from 7 to 15.  Eleven states seceded and formed the Confederate States.  Kentucky and Missouri had both Confederate and union governments.  Maryland's legislature was imprisoned by federal troops and was unable to secede and join the Confederacy.

There is a tombstone in Henderson, NC for Orrin Randolph Smith with an inscription "designer of the Stars and Bars". He claimed (some time after the fact) that he had designed the original national flag of the Confederate States of America, commonly known as the "Stars and Bars". His claim is in conflict with a similar claim by Nichola Marschal. There was a great conflict between the descendants and partisans of these two claimants in the early years of the 20th century.

Without going into great detail, I am inclined to favour Marschal's claim, because he was known as a designer and painter of flags, and Smith was not, and Marschal was in Alabama, not far from the seat of the Confederate government, when the flag was adopted, while Smith was in North Carolina, which was still a member of the United States on 4 March 1861.

However, there is a good possibility in my mind that Smith and Marschal submitted similar designs. The design of the Stars and Bars is a simplification of the Stars and Stripes that could have been composed by both men, and in fact, in the records of the Committee on Flag and Seal of the Confederate States Congress, there is another design, submitted by someone from South Carolina, which is the same design, but with the stars on a red canton, with blue/white/blue horizontal bars.

Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr., 3 July 2000

In Memory of
Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr.
11/05/1954 - 12/29/2007