Flags Over America
PAGE TWO - REVOLUTION
SONS OF LIBERTY
The original nine stripes of this flag represented the nine colonies that convened the "Stamp Act Congress" in 1765. After repeal of the Act in 1766, the flag became associated with the Sons of Liberty and became known to the British as the "Rebellious Stripes." The Sons reached their zenith of influence with the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773, after which the nine colonies were joined by the rest.
The original of this flag is in the town library in Bedford, Massachusetts. Tradition has it that it was carried by Bedford Minuteman Nathaniel Page at the battle of Concord. The latin motto "VINCE AUT MORITE" may be translated into English as "CONQUER OR DIE" or as "VICTORY OR ELSE DEATH".
Also called the Meteor flag, this British maritime flag (ensign) was carried on Navy warships throughout the colonial period. However, it's here for another reason - this is the FIRST NATIONAL FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES.
The Sons of Liberty were in the habit of meeting under a large tree (most village greens had one), which was called the "Liberty Tree". In cities or towns that lacked a tree big enough, the rebels would erect a tall pole as a symbolic tree. This flag was raised on one such "Liberty Pole" in Taunton, Massachusetts on October 21, 1774.
PHILADELPHIA LIGHT HORSE
This troop was formed by wealthy Philadelphians who supplied their own uniforms, horses and equipment. In June of 1775 they escorted Washington from Philadelphia to Cambridge, Massachusetts to take command of the Army assembled there. The flag was later carried into battle at Brandywine, Germantown, Princeton and Trenton. One of the interesting things about it is the fact that it is hand painted.
On May 10, 1775, Ethan Allen and his "Green Mountain Boys" of Vermont captured Fort Ticonderoga without firing a shot. They also fought with General Stark at Bennington in 1777. This flag is sometimes called the "Vermont Flag", as Vermont became a Republic after the war and didn't join the Union until much later.
Another example of design elements that we also see in todays' state flag, the anchor has been a symbol of Rhode Island since at least 1647. This flag is in the Statehouse in Providence. Among the first to join the Minutemen outside Boston at the outbreak of war, the Rhode Islanders were also among the first to practice the equality they preached by fielding an entire regiment of Black Patriots.
Believed to have been carried at Bunker Hill, this is a blending of the Meteor flag and the Pine Tree flag. Sometimes referred to as the New England Battle Flag.
On the morning of June 17, 1775, as the British advanced up Breeds' Hill (forever after to be confused with nearby Bunker Hill) in the early morning light they saw this flag above the American fortifications.
You all knew that George Washington
own private navy, right?
Six schooners, to be exact. Outfitted at his personal expense
in the autumn of 1775. Ever the diplomat, Virginian Washington
chose the New England pine tree motif as a gesture of solidarity
and friendship between the northern and southern colonies.
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