Stand by the Flag
Immediately after the attack on Fort Sumter, a tidal wave of flag imagery swept the Northern home front. The flag provided a symbol that was obvious and timely, as well as easy to produce and recognize. Its message was one of national unity, hope, and ultimate triumph, even during the darkest days of the war.
“Flag mania” penetrated every genre of northern visual culture, including magazines, books, stationery, jewelry, and other media. Most ubiquitous was the icon of the American flag that appeared on sheet music covers with titles such as The Bonnie Flag with the Stripes and Stars and Song of a Thousand Years. Broadsides decorated with red, white, and blue borders commanded northerners to Stand by the Flag or to Unfurl the Glorious Banner. These everyday objects enabled those at home to display their patriotic sentiments and to express their support for soldiers on the front.