If there was a song the Confederate soldier loved almost as much as "Dixie," it was "The Bonnie Blue Flag." Sung to the folk melody "The Irish Jaunting Car," it lays out the order in which the Southern states seceded along with the grievances that caused their departure. The song was premiered by lyricist Harry Macarthy during a concert in Jackson, Mississippi, in the spring of 1861 and performed again in September of that same year at the New Orleans Academy of Music in front of an audience of soldiers headed for the Virginia front. The response was enthusiastic, and Macarthy had one of the first "hits" of the War on his hands.
The New Orleans music publishing house of A.E. Blackmar issued six editions of "The Bonnie Blue Flag" between 1861 and 1864 along with three additional arrangements. The tune was so popular that Union General Benjamin Butler was said to have arrested and fined Blackmar for daring to publish it.
According to Mark Boatner's Civil War Dictionary, the Bonnie Blue Flag was "the blue field of the United States flag bearing first a single star for South Carolina (which seceded first), joined later...by the other ten, and was used before the adoption of the now-familiar Confederate flags." Another account claims that the flag made its first appearance at the Mississippi Secession Convention in January of 1861, having been sewn by the wife of a convention delegate.
Whatever its origins, the flag was often carried by Texas troops, and its design served as the basis for the state flags of both Virginia and South Carolina.
"The Bonnie Blue Flag"