Last modified: 2015-04-25 by rick wyatt
Keywords: united states | washington's cruisers | an appeal to heaven | massachusetts |
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image by Rick Wyatt, 1 November 2002
Editor's note: There are numerous varying references to the flags used by "Massachusetts Navy, Floating Batteries, Washington's Cruisers..."
source: Standards and Colors of the American Revolution[ric82]
In September 1775, the Americans launched two strong floating batteries on the Charles River, Massachusetts, and in the following month they opened fire on the enemy in Boston. In October, Washington also commissioned two schooners, the Lynch and the Franklin, to cruise the Bay. When speaking of these schooners, Col. Joseph Reed, Washington's secretary, in a letter from Cambridge, Mass. to Colonels Glover and Moyland, dated October 20, 1775, saidThere also were flags with "We Appeal to Heaven" and "Appeal To Heaven"."Please fix upon some particular color for a flag, and a signal by which our vessels may know one another. What do you think of a flag with a white ground and a tree in the middle, the motto 'AN APPEAL TO HEAVEN' - this is the flag of our floating batteries."By February 1, 1776 a total of six such "armed Vessels" of the "United Colonies of North America" had been commissioned by Washington... In April 1776, the Massachusetts council passed a series of resolutions for the regulation of the sea service, among which was the following: -"Resolved, that the uniform of the officers be green and white, and that the colors be a white flag, with a green pine tree, and the inscription, 'An Appeal to Heaven'."
I believe the six cruisers were the Lynch, Franklin, Lee, Warren, Washington and Harrison. Other ships appear to have included in late 1776: the Hannah, Hancock, General Schuyler, General Mifflin, Lady Washington, Spitfire, and Montgomery.
Phil Nelson, 12 November 2004
The Lynch and the Franklin were schooners. Richardson's "Standards and Colors of the American Revolution" also mentions two strong floating batteries on the Charles River in Massachusetts. By Feb 1, 1776 a total of six such "Armed Vessels" of the "United Colonies of North America" had been commissioned by Washington.
Rick Wyatt, 13 November 2004
image by Randy Young, 6 February 2001
Source: "Flags to Color from the American Revolution."Randy Young, 6 February 2001
On page 2 is the "Massachusetts Navy Flag." The colors are described as "White field, green leaves and grass, brown trunk, black letters.""In Sept. 1775, two floating batteries were launched on the Charles River and were soon firing on the enemy in Boston. These heavily armed scows flew this flag, as did the floating batteries of Pennsylvania on the Delaware River, and Washington's six schooners, commissioned early in 1776. The flag was officially adopted by the Massachusetts Navy in April 1776."
image by Randy Young, 29 January 2001
Source: "Flags to Color from the American Revolution."Randy Young, 29 January 2001
On page 1 is the "Appeal To Heaven Flag." The description of the flag is very simple: "White field" and black letters. The flag has the inscription "AN APPEAL TO HEAVEN" in capital letters interspersed with the inscription "une appellation au ciel" in lower case letters. Considering the English and French inscriptions, the flag was probably used following the Franco-American alliance in the latter part of the war.