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The Bennington Flag

The Bennington Flag

Texas 144.1

Regular price $8.00 Sale

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The Bennington Flag is probably one of the most recognizable Americana type flags of the Revolutionary War period aside from the Betsy Ross Flag. In addition to its visual appeal and rich symbolism, the flag represents a very important battle early in the struggle for independence, the Battle of Bennington. The American victory there lead to the ultimate surrender of the British at the Battle of Saratoga and was a significant turning point for the fledgling American nation.

In August of 1777, the Americans were storing a significant amount of ammunition at Bennington, Vermont and British General Burgoyne sent Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum with between 700 and 1,500 men to capture that ammunition store. General John Stark of the American forces ignored orders to head to Saratoga in order to stop the British attempt to seize the critical supplies. According to legend, when General Stark saw the British approaching, he yelled to his troops something to the effect of “Boys, there they are! We beat them today or Molly Stark sleeps a widow!”. Reinforcements that joined Stark included the Green Mountain Boys and together they destroyed the British forces; only 100 Tories and Brits made it back to join Burgoyne. This loss of men and the withdrawing Indian allies after seeing their British ‘friends’ take such a loss at Bennington both contributed to the surrender of Saratoga later in October of 1777.

Analysis of the flag’s components though indicate it was created in the early 19 th century, possibly as late as the late 1800’s or as early as 1812. The flag purported to have come from the Battle of Bennington (which was handed down through the family of the 13 th President of the United States, President Millard Fillmore) is made of single-twist and double-twist cotton strands which material wasn’t widely available in the US until at least the early to mid 1800’s. Further, the flag is much too large to be carried into battle and probably would have been hung stationary in a large foyer or fort. The size and age of the materials lend to the scholarly theory that the flag was probably made in commemoration of revolutionary battles during the periods of the War of 1812 or the 50 th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 1826. There’s no supporting evidence that the flag was flown at Bennington or during the battle.

Despite likely not being flown at the Battle of Bennington, this banner is full of symbolism and is quite unique as a Revolutionary War inspired relic. In traditional patriotic fashion, the flag bears 13 stars and 13 stripes representing the original colonies and their struggle against Great Britain. The ‘76’ refers to the year of the Declaration of Independence which is quite obvious to even an amateur historian.

Interestingly, the Bennington Flag inverts the stripe pattern typically found on most versions of American flags. Instead of starting and ending with red stripes, the flag starts and ends with white stripes giving it a further distinction and unique appearance. A keen eye would also note that the blue field in the left corner extends down to nine stripes making it larger than typical cantons which only extend to seven stripes. Finally, the traditional star pattern for flags was five points instead of the seven seen on the Bennington Flag stars. A unique American flag indeed.

As much as patriots would love for every historic flag to have been in a battle, to have flown while history was being made, and been a symbol of inspiration to contemporary soldiers and citizens, that probably isn’t the case with the Bennington Flag. However, that does not and should not detract from what this flag and our patch reminds of us today as we yearn for the Spirit of ‘76 to flourish in these trying times of the modern era. See also The Green Mountain Boys

    • 3x2"
    • Hook backing
    • Woven for amazing clarity

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