In 1863 Wisconsin had not yet adopted an official Wisconsin state flag and the Civil War regiments in the field were requesting an official banner to fly. The legislature formed a five-member joint select committee to respond to these requests and, as a result 1863 Joint Resolution 4 was adopted. This resolution essentially adopted a Wisconsin state flag design that was already in use by the Wisconsin regimental troops. In 1913, this resolution finally made it into the official state statutes of the state of Wisconsin.
Chapter 111, Laws of 1913 specifying a dark blue Wisconsin state flag with the Wisconsin state coat of arms centered on each side, evolved into Chapter 1, section 1.08 of the Wisconsin statutes. As with other states who chose to display the state coat of arms or seal on the official state flag, Wisconsin found that their state flag was difficult to distinguish from others. After years of effort to distinguish the Wisconsin state flag in some more noticeable way, the enactment of Chapter 286, Laws of 1979 responded with the addition of the word "WISCONSIN" in white letters above the state coat of arms and the date that Wisconsin was admitted to the union, "1848" in white letters below the Wisconsin state coat of arms.