2nd New Hampshire Regiment
£30.18.9 – 30 Pounds, 18 Shillings, and 9 Pence. Very few flags of the American Revolution come to us with a price tag, let alone a clear origin. Most often, flags of the era were constructed privately and simply. Rarely do we have the historical details available to know how they came to be. The flag on our patch of the 2nd New Hampshire Regiment, however, has a more detailed and interesting life than most flags of that time period.
Today, we take for granted being able to order a flag from an online retailer for just a few dollars. Made of nylon and screen printed, most flag reproductions aren’t fit for outdoor use, let alone going to battle. In this case, the 2nd New Hampshire Regiment (Buff) Flag was essentially a work of art, one two flags made by hand in April of 1777 by local craftsmen and of robust and precious material – both had to stand up to battlefield conditions and represent an emerging nation. Flags like these took time to create and their imagery was very intentional. Note that £30.18.9 would be around $5,100 or about $2,550 for each flag. $5,100 is a hefty price tag for flags that unfortunately didn’t survive long in American hands! However, the loss of the flags did not deter the men of the 2nd New Hampshire Regiment. The remaining men of the regiment ultimately contributed significantly to the surrender of British General John Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga in the fall of 1777.
The flags’ materials and construction were paid for by the New Hampshire Committee of Safety. However, the only reason the Committee of Safety paid for them was because the regiment's colonel that traditionally paid for the flags of a regiment, Colonel Nathan Hale (not the famous Nathan Hale hanged as a spy), was rumored to have died not long after the Siege of Ticonderoga. Hale and the 2nd New Hampshire Regiment had been ordered to provide rear guard support near Hubbardton, Vermont as the Americans retreated from Ticonderoga to different locations in early July of 1777. The Regiment and other American forces were unsuccessful in their bid to defend against the British at Hubbardton; many were captured by the British, including Colonel Hale who had not yet paid the bill for the flags. Thinking that Hale had passed away in battle and with the regiment having been decimated at Hubbardton, the flag maker, Nathan Blodget, who was also injured at Hubbardton, sent a dispatch to the Committee of Safety for payment and they promptly did so.
Mr. Blodget’s receipt of the supplies and materials turned in for reimbursement give us an idea of the craftsmanship and care that went into the flags he created for the 2nd New Hampshire Regiment. Four yards of blue and buff taffeta were purchased in addition to one and a quarter yards of Persian silk. Taffeta is considered a high-end fabric that was used in ball-room dresses, wedding dresses, and curtains. Given the smaller amount of silk purchased, it is thought that the silk was probably not used in the flag itself but rather as a liner for the container or box in which they rested. The “buff” or pale yellow color of the flag was deliberate, meant to represent the color of buffalo or oxen leather which was known to be very tough and durable. In the center were thirteen gold, interlocking rings with the names of the colonies and the phrase “We Are One” in the center, an image created by Benjamin Franklin. This symbolism isn’t hard to grasp – thirteen independent states all forming one bond and inseparable from each other.
- Hook Backing
- Release: 01/07/2021