Flags Over America
PAGE THREE - REVOLUTION (cont'd)
One of the companies in Patrick Henry's First Virginia Regiment, the Culpepper Minutemen under Colonel Stevens were a fierce-looking group of backwoodsmen who wore "Liberty or Death" emblazoned in white on their green hunting frocks. They preferred rifles to muskets, and went into battle with tomahawks and scalping knives.
Combining the Meteor flag
with the Sons of Liberty flag, this was first raised at sea on
December 3, 1775 by John
Paul Jones; and on
land on January 1, 1776, on Prospect Hill (then called Mount Pisgah)
in Somerville, Massachusetts, when the Continental Army was mustered
into formal existence. It received its' name from a reference
as the "Grand Union Flag" in one of George Washington's
this flag was never officially sanctioned by the Continental Congress.
Flying aboard a patriot ship, it received the first foreign salute
to an American flag from Governor De Graaff of St. Eustatius Island
on November 16, 1776.
This flag belongs in any
collection of "national" flags since its' regiment carried
it the length and breadth of the land, being the only state regiment
to serve during the course of the war in all thirteen states.
They distinguished themselves at Trenton,
and Yorktown, among other battles.
FIRST NAVY JACK
1776The earliest of the
national "rattlesnake flags", this one flew over the
Navy's first ship, the ALFRED,
in January, 1776. For more on "rattlesnake flags", click here.
First used by Commodore Esek
Hopkins when his fleet put to sea in February, 1776, the design
was "borrowed" by Colonel Cristopher Gadsden of South
Carolina and presented to the Continental Congress.
Named for Colonel William
Moultrie, this flag flew over Sullivan Island in Charleston Harbor
during the battle on June 28, 1776. Sergeant William Jasper risked
life and limb several times to replace the flag after it was shot
down, inspiring the Americans by his heroism. The British were
beaten so badly they didn't renew the war in the south again until
1778. Look for a cresent moon the next time you see the present
day state flag of South Carolina.
On August 16, 1777, at Bennington,
Vermont, General John Stark defeated a large raiding force sent
by Burgoyne to capture American supplies stored there. This presaged
the great British defeat at Saratoga.
Note that this is the only American flag to begin with a white
stripe. The original may be seen in the museum
Ben Franklin wrote the King
of Naples in 1778, describing the new American flag as "Having
thirteen stripes alternating red, white and blue." In August
of 1779, the epic naval battle between the Bonhomme Richard (named
for Franklin) and the Serapis took place. When John Paul Jones sailed the battered Serapis into the allied Dutch
port of Texel, she was flying this flag.
Although named after the battle of Cowpens, this was actually the flag of the Third Maryland Regiment
of the Continental Line. You can find the original flag in the
State House in Annapolis. The Marylanders joined troops from Georgia
and Virginia, all under General Daniel Morgan, to decisively defeat
British Lieutenant-Colonel Banastre "The Butcher" Tarleton.
One of the bloodiest battles
of the war occurred March 15, 1781 at Guilford
Courthouse, North Carolina.
Under American General Greene, the British inland advance was
hurled back to the seacoast by the American militia units, with
the British losing a quarter of their troops.