Nicola Marschall

Nicola Marschall (March 16, 1829 – February 24, 1917) was a German-American artist who supported the Confederate cause during the American Civil War. He designed the original Confederate flag, the Stars and Bars,[1] as well as the official grey uniform of the Confederate army.[2]

Nicola Marschall
Nicola Marschall.jpg
Self Portrait of Nicola Marschall
Born(1829-03-16)March 16, 1829
DiedFebruary 24, 1917(1917-02-24) (aged 87)
Known forDesigning the Confederate Uniform and the Confederate Flag
Signature of Nicola Marschall.png
Nicola Marschall is claimed to have been the designer of the first Stars and Bars.


On March 16, 1829, Marschall was born in St. Wendel, Germany, to a wealthy Prussian family of tobacco merchants.[2]

In 1849, Marschall emigrated to the United States through New Orleans, Louisiana, headed for the home of a relative in Mobile, Alabama.[2]

In 1851, Marschall relocated to Marion, Alabama, where he began teaching art first at his portrait studio, and then at the Marion Female Seminary.[1] During this time he briefly returned to Germany to further his art technique.[2]

Mary Clay Lockett, wife of prominent Marion attorney Napoleon Lockett, requested of Marschall to take part in the competition to create a new flag to represent the Confederate States of America. Marschall's design became the first Confederate flag, first raised in Montgomery, Alabama, on March 4, 1861.[1] During the Civil War Marschall served in the Second Regiment of Confederate Engineer Troops, under Samuel Lockett. After the war he returned to Marion and married Martha Eliza Marshall.[1]

During his career, Marschall painted portraits of Jefferson Davis, Abraham Lincoln, Otto von Bismarck, various Southern families, and Confederate and Union soldiers.[1] He was one of the few who was able to have Nathan Bedford Forrest pose for him. Additionally, he did many landscapes and religious paintings.[1] He was known to sign and date his portraits using a steel pen while the paint was still wet, at the bottom-right of the portrait.[3]

Due to the economic depression in the South following the war, Marschall returned to Mobile in 1872. In 1873, he and his family moved to Louisville, Kentucky, as his friends told him it would be an easier place to gain commissions to do portraits.[2] At the Centennial International Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, he won a medal for his portraits.[3]

In 1908, Marschall gave up working on portraits.[2]

On February 24, 1917, Marschall died in Louisville, Kentucky. His remains were interred at Cave Hill Cemetery.[4][5]



  1. ^ a b c d e f Adams, E. Bryding (March 21, 2007). "Nicola Marschall". The Encyclopedia of Alabama. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Nicola Marschall: Artist of the Deep South". Alabama Department of Archives and History. Retrieved September 26, 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Nicola Marschall: Artist of the Deep South: Did you know?". Alabama Department of Archives and History. Retrieved September 26, 2009.
  4. ^ "Noted Artist is Dead at 88". The Courier-Journal. February 25, 1917. p. 34. Retrieved December 31, 2020 – via
  5. ^ Coady, Jean Howerton (June 2, 1980). "Stars and Bars, and a Uniform". The Courier-Journal. p. 17. Retrieved December 31, 2020 – via

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