Images of the flag of the Marion Light Infantry before (L) and after (R) conservation treatment.
Flag: 4th Alabama Infantry (Co. G, Marion Light Infantry)
This flag was made in Marion, Alabama, and painted by Nicola Marschall. According to a letter printed in the Weekly Marion American, on July 17, 1861, this flag was sent to the Marion Light Infantry after their arrival in Virginia. The flag was donated by the ladies of Marion and taken to the company by John Conch. It was described as bearing a "beautiful device which illustrates so aptly the product of our lovely country" (apparently a reference to the cotton plant and bale of cotton painted on the obverse of the flag). In several postwar accounts it is referred to as "the cotton bale flag." The reverse of the flag is an 11 star first national Confederate flag.
This flag was among the 10 company flags carried by the 4th Alabama Infantry during a dress parade at Harper's Ferry in June 1861. When the 4th Alabama was brigaded under General Bernard Bee all of the company flags with the exception of this one, were turned over to the company officials.1 The flag of the Marion Light Infantry continued in use as the regimental colors. In a letter dated July 23, 1913, William H. Fiquet, a former member of the Marion Light Infantry, noted that the regiment carried the "flag with the cotton bale on it at First Manassas."
In addition, according to an account attributed to the flag bearer, he was carrying this flag at the first Battle of Manassas when he witnessed the conversation between General Bernard Bee and Captain Porter King which resulted in Thomas J. Jackson receiving the nickname "Stonewall." The flag was brought home by Captain King who returned to Marion after one year of service. He later gave the flag to his son Porter King. The flag was presented to the Alabama Department of Archives and History by Mrs. Porter King on March 15, 1904.
This flag received conservation treatment and was prepared for display by Textile Preservation Associates, Inc. of Sharpsburg, Maryland, in February 2000.
1According to a statement given in 1917 by P. D. Bowles, former captain of the Conecuh Guards (Co. E, 4th Alabama Infantry).
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Updated: July 26, 2007