Thanks for all the e-mails about “The Bonnie Blue Flag.” I can’t quote them all, of course, so this one, from Joe Long, the registrar of the Confederate Relic Room and Museum in Columbia, SC, will do, inasmuch as this is pretty much what everybody is saying. But Joe adds some interesting postbellum details:
Confederates sang both versions. I thought the version I heard last night in the movie was a slight variation from each, but I may have been wrong…anyway, it was the most popular war song out there, and if you’ll think about it, most enlisted men were NOT especially fighting for their property in any sense, so likely first modified the lyrics to suit themselves. Many songs had multiple versions, even “Dixie” (which somebody wrote “appropriately” martial lyrics to – hardly ever sung). “Battle Cry of Freedom,” “Dixie,” and some others also had Northern and Southern versions.
Now, AFTER the war the veterans probably sang the non-”property” version almost exclusively, since the concern about keeping the war from being portrayed as a “war over slavery” was immediate. For the same reason, vets often made good and sure to invite black veterans (generally cooks, musicians and such) to the reunions and put them front-and-center in photographs. But at the time of secession – both versions; and a show for Hood’s Texans and put on by Hood’s Texans (the movie situation): almost certainly the non-”property” version. (Our South Carolinians were more attached to the “peculiar institution” than Texans ever were.) (Besides, “property” is a much less “fightin’ word” abstraction than “liberty” for anyone, unless you’re Ayn Rand.)