|"The Bonnie Blue Flag"|
aka "We Are A Band Of Brothers"|
Composed by Harry McCarthy - 1861
Synthesized by Barry Taylor
In the spring of 1861, Harry McCarthy, a variety entertainer and comedian, wrote a stirring marching song, "The Bonnie Blue Flag", also known as "We Are a Band of Brothers". The lyrics recounted why the South found it necessary to break from the Union and described each state joining the Confederacy. The song's title refers to the unofficial first Flag of the Confederacy, the "Bonnie Blue Flag, the symbol of secession from the Union, that bears the "single star" of the chorus.
The song was extremely popular in the South, rivaling "Dixie" as the unofficial Confederate anthem. As the secession crisis intensified, the Bonnie Blue Flag gradually became the unofficial banner of independence and self-government for the Southern states. It waved prominently at political rallies and parades and flew in Montgomery, Alabama 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".
The 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.
Whenever modern historical musicians declare an absolute pedigree for a particular tune, they are probably wrong. Any time a tune becomes popular, new lyrics and consequently, a new name, are attached. Proceed with caution!
Need a gift for an Alumni of the 1st Cavalry Division?
|Return To The Host URL Of This Link|
Revised 10 Apr '12 SpellChecked