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.