In Reply to: Rally round the flag posted by ESC on September 20, 2008 at 20:47:
: : Looking for the origin of "rally round the flag".
: There is a Civil War song that contains that phrase. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_cry_of_freedom
: Also, Mr. Safire says, in a long entry about "rally" (from the French "rallier," to join again, to reassemble scattered troops to fight again) that "'Rally around the flag' may or may not have been said by General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans..." From "Safire's New Political Dictionary" by William Safire (Random House, New York, 1993). Page 643-645.
The phrase derives, I believe, from the days when a flag was carried into battle, and when things became totally confused in the noise, the smoke and so on, it provided a point around which the soldiers could rally in order to regroup.