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By Sue Burns Moore.

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During the Vicksburg siege, steamboats on the Mississippi River played both songs on their calliopes to encourage the Confederates in the trenches. However, the Bonnie Blue Flag was the only one actually written and sold as an anthem during the war. Its powerful lyrics and rollicking tune stirred patriotic men and women to tears and to action. In time, as with other famous war songs, questions arose as to who wrote it and when was it first performed.

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Smith recalled:. About September 18, I attended the Academy of Music, at that time one of the most popular places of amusement in the city. He commenced singing the "Bonnie Blue Flag," and before the first verse was ended the audience was quivering with excitement. He sang:.

At this point the young lady waved the flag.

The Bonnie Blue Flag

Hurrah, hurrah, for Southern rights hurrah. Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star. He then sang the second verse and when he commenced the chorus the audience joined and sang it over and over again, amid the most intense excitement. It was wafted to the streets, and in twenty-four hours it was all over the Southern army, and then caught up by the Yanks and was sung or hummed in every hamlet, town and city in the United States.

It was from that night the Marseillaise of the South. A policeman tapped him on the shoulder to quiet him, and he flattened the officer. Eventually the mayor of New Orleans arrived on the scene and quelled the police, and Col. Terry arrived and marched his subdued Rangers off to camp. I wonder if those old fellows have forgotten that night and Harry McCarthy.

I believe this was the first time it was ever sung. Cover of sheet music for "The Bonnie Blue Flag. Library of Congress. After attending Mississippi College in Clinton, he went to the University of Missouri, returning upon graduation to study medicine in Louisiana. When the war broke out, he entered Confederate service, first as a lieutenant of the Third Louisiana Infantry, and later as lieutenant of the 22 nd Louisiana Heavy Artillery. His home was broken up during the war, so he went north where he completed his studies and practiced medicine.

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In he married Clotilde Pilard, their only child dying in infancy. For a time he was the editor of the Vincennes Sun and active in politics. Thomas answered W. When I first met them in December, , they were traveling together giving variety concerts. I did not hear McCarthy sing it that night, but afterward heard him sing it at Raymond, Miss. McCarthy after the entertainment was finished, the young folks of the town having organized a dance in the ball-room of the Oak Tree Hotel in Raymond. There have been imitations of this song, and additions to it, but none have been superior to the first edition, as written and sung by Harry McCarthy.

It served as a hospital during the Battle of Raymond, and was still in existence as late as It was from this hotel that Sargeant S.

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Prentiss delivered his famous Bed Bug Speech. It is said that during the night he was awakened by a bedbug and he rose and proceeded to address the enemy with "all the mock gravity at his command.


The entire hotel was aroused by his thrilling speech! Harry Macarthy, of Scots-Irish extraction, immigrated to the United States from England in , and by the time the war broke out had gained a reputation of being an excellent mimic and comic.

The Bonnie Blue Flag by Brian McCarthy

His imitation of dialects was said to be near perfection. As a ballad singer he is among the best we ever listened to, and in presenting Yankee, Irish, English, Dutch, French, and Negro characters, he reminds one so much of the genuine article that it is difficult to realize the fact that he is only acting. On motion, the President was requested to have the Ordinance of Secession written on parchment, and appropriately arranged for the signatures of the members; also, to telegraph the result of this day's proceedings to the Mississippi delegation in Congress, and to the different slaveholding States.

At this point, Mr. Dickson entered the hall, bearing a beautiful silk banner, with a single star in the centre, which he handed to the President of the Convention as a present from Mrs. Smyth [Amanda A. Hilzheim Smythe], of Jackson. The President remarked that it was the first banner unfurled in the young Republic, when the members saluted it by rising--the vast audience present uniting in shouts of applause. When lower Mississippi, the portion extending south below the Hattiesburg area, was a part of Spanish West Florida in , Americans led by the Kemper brothers planted their secession flag in Baton Rouge.

By the time of the Civil War, most Mississippians knew that the lone star stood for independence. In January, , I was in attendance as a looker-on at the Mississippi State Convention, which passed the ordinance of secession. When her convention met at Jackson the first week in January, Hon. Bonnie Blue Flag 3ft x 5ft Nylon. Average rating: 0 out of 5 stars, based on 0 reviews Write a review. Online Stores. Tell us if something is incorrect.

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