Revolutionary War Flags
On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress approved an American flag, with thirteen stars and stripes. They specified "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". Of course, they did not specify the exact layout of the stars nor the exact sequence of the alternating red and white stripes, so there were a number of versions created until 1912.
Below are popular reproductions of some of the most popular flags from the American Revolution.
The flag most commonly associated with the Revolutionary War is the Betsy Ross Flag. Although this flag is commonly believed to have been created by Betsy Ross, the actual origins of the flag are unknown.
According to legend, Betsy Ross was approached by General George Washington and George Ross, Betsy's uncle. However, Betsy Ross's role in designing the flag continues to be debated to this day. Regardless of who first created it, the Betsy Ross flag remains an icon of the American Revolution. It appears in numerous Revolutionary War-era depictions, even if historically inaccurate (as in Washington Crossing the Delaware).
The only Revolutionary War Flag to begin with a white stripe, the Bennington Flag is associated with the Battle of Bennington. Though it is widely believed that this flag was actually flown during the battle and carried off the field by Nathaniel Fillmore, it may have actually been created some years later to recapture the revolutionary nostalgia during the War of 1812. Most historians believe that the Green Mountain Boys flag was actually flown at the Battle of Bennington.
Today, the original Bennington flag hangs in a Bennington, Vermont museum.
Commonly associated with the Battle of Bunker Hill, The Bunker Hill flag has a blue field with a red cross and pine tree in the corner. As with other American Revolution flags, there is some controversy as to whether the flag actually flew at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Some accounts describe a red flag with a pine tree in the corner, as seen on The Flag of New England. At least one other account recalled seeing a blue flag hoisted up to the top of Breed's Hill.
No matter which side you believe, the Bunker Hill flag remains a symbol of that historic battle and was depicted on a 1968 U.S. postage stamp.
Led by Ethan Allen, The Green Mountain Boys were a Vermont militia that existed several years before the Revolutionary War. The Green Mountain Boys were represented in a few key early battles in the American Revolution.
The Green Mountain Boys flag was believed to have been flown at the Battle of Bennington and even today remains as the flag of the Vermont National Guard.
The original "Don't Tread on Me" flag, the First Navy Jack flag was flown by the Continental Navy in the fall of 1775 as they prepared to battle the British on the Delaware River.
The flag features a rattlesnake, a longtime symbol of resistance against the British, on a red-and-white-striped background.
The Navy Jack flag looks great when paired with any American flag or on its own. The rattlesnake and DON'T TREAD ON ME slogan remain one of the more recognizable icons in American history.