About Jane Margaret "Jennie" Cary
Jennie is best remembered for making the first three battle flags of the Confederacy (along with her sister and cousin) and for creating what would become the state song of Maryland ("Maryland, My Maryland"). The song calls for Maryland to fight the Union and was used across the South during the Civil War as a battle hymn.
Jennie was related to two of Virginia's most influential families, the Jeffersons (through her mother’s family) and the Randolphs (through her paternal grandmother, Virginia Randolph Cary). She was also a lineal descendant of Pocahontas.
Jennie and her sister, Hetty, smuggled drugs and clothing through the Union blockade, across the Potomac for Confederate troops. They were forced to leave Baltimore after federal authorities discovered their Southern sympathies. They escaped to Richmond, where they then lived with their cousin Constance Cary and her mother, who served as the girls' chaperone. The three young ladies became known as the "Cary Invincibles".
Making of the Confederate Battle Flag
Due to confusion among the troops during the First Battle of Bull Run due to the similar design and color of the Confederate flag, the Stars and Bars, and the Union flag, the Stars and Stripes, Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard recommended that the Confederate flag be changed.
Constance Cary wrote:
“During the autumn of ‘61, to my cousins, Hetty and Jennie, and to me was entrusted the making of the first three battle flags of the Confederacy. They were jaunty squares of scarlet crossed with dark blue edged in white, the cross bearing stars to indicate the number of the seceded states. We set our best stitches upon them, edged with gold fringed, and, when they were finished, dispatched one to General Joseph Johnston, another to General Pierre Beauregard, and the last to General Earl Van Dorn. The banners were made from red silk for the fields and blue silk for the crosses.”
The resulting flag, commonly called the Southern Cross, served as the principal battle flag of the cavalry, infantry, and artillery units in the Army of Northern Virginia from November 1861 until the surrender at Appomattox Court House in April 1865.
Jennie and her sister, Hetty Cary (wife of the Confederate general John Pegram), and cousin Constance were well-known figures during the Civil War, and considered heroines for sewing the first Confederate battle flags.
"Maryland, My Maryland"
Jennie Cary put the words of James Ryder Randall's poem "Maryland, My Maryland" to the German folk song "Lauriger Hortius", thereby creating what would become the state song of Maryland.
Written originally as a poem by James Randall, the song refers to Maryland's history and geography and specifically mentions several historical figures of importance to the state. The song calls for Maryland to fight the Union and was used across the South during the Civil War as a battle hymn. It has been called America's "most martial poem."
Occasional attempts have been made to replace it as Maryland's state song due to its origin in support for the Confederacy and lyrics that refer to President Lincoln as a "tyrant," "despot," and "Vandal," and to the Union as "Northern scum."