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American Revolution Era Flags

Betsy Ross Flag, 1st Official US Flag

This flag was adopted June 14, 1777 which has become recognized as "Flag Day". The Continental Congress on this day resolved, "That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes alternating red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation". The circular design is atributed to George Washington, Francis Hopkins and Betsy Ross. The Congress did not specify an arrangement for the stars in the canton until 1912, resulting in many variations and arrangements.

Bennington Flag of 1776

1776 Bennington Revolutionary War flag.The Bennington flag flew over the military stores in Bennington, Vermont, on August 16, 1777. The American militia defeated a large British raiding force. Note that this flag begins and ends with a with a white stripe.

On of the possible designs of flags flown at Bunker Hill

One of the Bunker Hill flags flown at that location at the start of the revolution in Boston on the nights of June 16 & 17, 1775, The Americans fortified Breed's and Bunker Hills overlooking Boston Harbor, Although the had not officially declared their independence, a fight was underway. When the British advanced up the slope the next day they saw an early New England flag, possibly a red or blue banner. Many early Colonial flags had been made by altering the English flag and most still contained a reference to the mother country. This was an example that the Colonists still saw themselves as British subjects but were declaring their right to be free from violation of their liberties.

Continental Flag

Continental Flag of the American RevolutionHistory of the Continental Flag. This flag uses a version of the British Red Ensign or Meteor flag with a green New England Pine tree substituted for the Union flag in the canton. The Continental flag is beleived to have been carried at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Liberty or Death Culperrer Flag

Liberty or Death Culpeper Flag of the American RevolutionHistory of the Culpeper Flag. This flag represented a group of about one hundred minutemen from Culpeper, Virginia. The group formed part of Colonel Patrick Henry's First Virginia Regiment of 1775. In October - November 1775 three hundred such minutemen, led by Colonel Stevens, assembled at Culpeper Court House and marched for Williamsburg. Their unusual dress alarmed the people as they marched through the country. The word "Liberty Or Death" were in large white letters on the breast of their hunting shirts. They had bucks' tails in their hats and in their belts, tomahawks and scalping knives.

Fort Moultrie Liberty Flag

Fort Moultrie Liberty flag of the American RevolutionThe Moultrie Flag was designed in 1775, and flew over Fort Moultrie (then Ft. Sullivan) in Charleston Harbour. This flag was shot away by the British in a battle in 1776. This was the flag of the South Carolina "Minute men."

The Gadsden,also know as the Don't Thread On Me Flag

The Gadsden Flag of the American Revolution. The Gadsden Flag is also know as the Don't tread on me flag. This flag was first used by Commodore Esek Hopkins, the first Commander in Chief of the New Continental Fleet, when his ships put to sea for the first time in February, 1776. Flags with the symbol of the rattlesnake were very popular in Rhode Island at this time. Colonel Christopher Gadsden of South Carolina copied this flag and presented it to the Continental Congress.

Grand Union or Continental Flag of 1775

Grand Union or Continental Flag of 1775 of the American RevolutionThe Grand Union Flag 1775 is also known as the Continental flag, it is the first true U.S. Flag. It combined the British King's Colours and the thirteen stripes signifying Colonial unity. George Washington liked this design so well that he chose it to be flown to celebrate the formation of the Continental Army on New Years Day, 1776. On that day the Grand Union Flag was proudly raised on Prospect Hill in Somerville, near his headquarters at Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Green Mountain Boys Flag

Green Mountain Boys of Vermont flag of the American RevolutionOn August 16, 1777 the "Green Mountain Boys" fought under General Stark at the Battle of Bennington. It's green field represented their name and the thirteen white stars a tribute to the thirteen colonies. A notable victory of the Green Mountain Boys under Ethan Allen, occurred on the morning of May 10, 1775, when they silently invaded the British held Fort Ticonderoga and demanded its surrender "In the name of the great Jehovah and the Continental Congress". The captured cannon and mortars were transported across the snow covered mountains of New England and their installation on the heights over Boston Harbor enabled Washington to force the British to leave that important seaport

Guilford Courthouse Flag

Guilford Courthouse Flag of the American RevolutionThis flag is an example of the lack in uniformity in American flags during the Revolutionary period as each group chose what flag to be used as its standard. This flag has the unique elements of an elongated canton and blue stripes. It was raised over the Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina on March 15, 1781 under the leadership of General Greene whose militiamen halted the British advance through the Carolinas and turned them back to the seaport towns. This was one of the bloodiest battles of the long was with the britsh losing over a quarter of their troops.

Rhode Island Regiment Flag

Rhode Island Regiment flag of the American RevolutionIn Rhode Island the anchor has been used as a state symbol ever since 1647 which is evident in the current State flag. The anchor represents Rhode Island's seafaring activities and the thirteen stars, the original thirteen colonies. The native Rhode Islanders were among the first to join the Minutemen outside Boston. The Rhode Island Regiments served at the Battles of Brandywine, Trenton and Yorktown. This flag is preserved today in the State House at Providence, Rhode Island.

British Historical Red Ensign Maritime Flag

British historical Red Ensign Maritine Flag of the American Revolution periodThis is one of the most recognized British Maritime flags. This flag was widely used on ships during the Colonial period, and was the first National flag of the United States.

The Rattlesnake Jack and the Modern U.S. Navy
1st US Navy Jack - Don't Tread On Me

As part of the commemoration of the bicentennial of the American Revolution, by an instruction dated 1 August 1975 (SECNAV Instruction 10520.3) the Secretary of the Navy directed the use of the rattlesnake jack in place of the union jack (blue field with white stars) during the period 13 October 1775 (the bicentennial of the legislation that created the Continental Navy, which the Navy recognizes as the Navy's birthday), and 31 December 1976.
By an instruction dated 18 August 1980 (SECNAV Instruction 10520.4), the Secretary of the Navy directed that the commissioned ship in active status having the longest total period in active status to display the rattlesnake jack in place of the union jack until decommissioned or transferred to inactive status.
By an instruction dated 31 May 2002 (SECNAV Instruction 10520.6), the Secretary of the Navy directed the use of the rattlesnake jack in place of the union jack for the duration of the Global War on Terrorism.