Hurrah For the Bonnie Blue Flag

A white five-pointed star on a deep blue background is the familiar symbol known as the “Bonnie Blue Flag.” It was originally used in 1810 as the emblem of the short-lived Republic of West Florida. It was also the flag of the Republic of Mississippi and the Republic of Texas before those states joined the Confederacy. Though the Bonnie Blue Flag was never officially adopted by the Confederate government, it became an unofficial national flag and a favorite of the people.Read

Irish-born Harry McCarthy saw a flag of this design being raised in Mississippi following that state’s secession from the Union in January 1861. It inspired him to write a stirring song that linked the Bonnie Blue Flag forever with the Confederacy.

Unveiling the Bonnie Blue Flag: Symbolism and Significance

The stirring marching song was popular in the South throughout and after the war, rivaling “Dixie” as the unofficial Confederate anthem. It is believed that it was used in the secession of several more states and by the end of the war eleven different editions had been printed.

During the Civil War, Harry McCarthy and his wife Lottie traveled widely through the South performing to sold-out audiences. They often gave free concerts for the soldiers and donated proceeds from their shows to Confederate causes such as uniforms and hospitals. The Confederate audiences loved Harry and he in turn loved them. They sang his songs and clapped along with the beat to the stirring music. They cheered particularly wildly for the songs that celebrated the Bonnie Blue Flag, and in particular when he counted out the states that had seceded from the Union.