Bonnie Blue Flag "Flag of Secession" Confederate Sheet Music And Hand Written Lyrics By Private Albert G. Poole Of The 51st North Carolina Volunteers - Private Poole has hand written the seven original verses of the Bonnie Blue Flag, then added his own additional eighth verse which reads:
"When the Yankees are all dead
And this thing is forgotten
Oh, then we'll get a higher price
For Sugar Rice and Cotton
As the secession crisis intensified, the Bonnie Blue Flag gradually became the unofficial banner if independence and self-government for the Southern states. It waved prominently at political rallies and parades and flew in Montgomery, Ala., while the first Confederate Congress was in session.
The designer of the blue flag with the single white star in the center is unknown, but the banner is believed to have been modeled after the flag of South Carolina and the Lone Star flag of Texas. The single star represented secession, the removal of a star from the Stars and Stripes, and independence in that it stood alone on a field of blue. Sometimes an additional star would be added to the flag for each seceding state. In January 1861, the Bonnie Blue Flag was incorporated as a canton in the flag of the new Republic of Mississippi. The Committee on Flag and Seal of the Confederacy's Provisional Congress passed over the Bonnie Blue Flag and other designs to select instead a flag based on the old Stars and Stripes, a flag that would become famous as the "Stars and Bars".
In the spring of 1861, Harry McCarthy, a variety entertainer and comedian, wrote a stirring marching song, "The Bonnie Blue Flag". The lyrics recounted why the South found it necessary to break from the Union and described each state joining the Confederacy. The song was extremely popular in the South, rivaling "Dixie" as the unofficial Confederate anthem. Union authorities in occupied New Orleans outlawed playing the music or even singing the song. Eleven editions of "The Bonnie Blue Flag" had been printed by the end of the war, each with slightly different lyrics. The song lost some of its popularity when, late in the war, Harry McCarthy abandoned the South and went to Philadelphia.
Fascinating Fact: The tune for "The Bonnie Blue Flag" was borrowed from the old song "The Irish Jaunting Car". The tune is still heard today as the fight song for Georgia Tech.
51st Infantry Regiment was organized at Wilmington, North Carolina, in April, 1862, with men recruited in the counties of Cumberland, Sampson, Duplin, Columbus, Robeson, and New Hanover. It was assigned to General Clingman's Brigade and served under him for the duration of the war. After fighting at Goldsboro, it moved to the Charleston area and was prominent in the defense of Battery Wagner. The 51st was then ordered to Virginia, participated in the battles at Drewry's Bluff and Cold Harbor, and endured the hardships of the Petersburg siege south and north of the James River. Returning to North Carolina, it saw action at Bentonville. On July 18, 1863, this regiment lost 16 killed and 52 wounded at Battery Wagner and in August contained 374 effectives. In May, 1864, it contained 1,100 men, and in October there were 145 present. During that time the 51st lost in killed and wounded 160 at Drewry's Bluff, 194 at Cold Harbor, and 104 at Fort Harrison. Very few surrendered with the Army of Tennessee. The field officers were Colonels John L. Cantwell and Hector McKethan, Lieutenant Colonels William A. Allen and Caleb B. Hobson, and Major James R. McDonald.
Inventory Number: MUS 033