On January 1, 2010, Gardner's Regiment attended the First Flag raising event on Prospect Hill for the third year. This honor was made possible thru the Mayor's Office of the City of Somerville and the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission.
The First Flag was raised on Prospect Hill by order of George Washington on January 1, 1776. Prospect Hill, then a part of Charlestown, was an important Patriot military installation during the Revolutionary War. Besides providing defenses for Charlestown and the City of Boston, it was also used as a prisoner of war camp. It held British Regulars, many of whom were captured in New York. Gardner's Regiment, then the 25th Continental under the command of General Nathanael Greene, was stationed for a time on Prospect Hill.
THE MAKING OF OUR NATIONS FLAG
In 1775 Congress realized there was a need for a symbol of the United Thirteen Colonies. A Committee composed of Benjamin Franklin ( Pennsylvania ), Benjamin Harrison ( Virginia ), and Thomas Lynch ( South Carolina ) was organized.
The committee was aware of the varying sentiments regarding a total break with the King. As such, they thought the flag should reflect the unity of the Thirteen Colonies - represented by the Red and White stripes - and Britain - represented by the Union Jack. The Union Flag was composed of the Cross of Saint Andrew for Scotland and the Cross of Saint George for England. It did not include the Cross of Saint Patrick for Ireland at that time.
The flag was designed by Francis Hopkins, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
The flag has had several names including 'Congress Flag', 'First Navy Ensign', 'Cambridge Flag', and 'Continental Colors'.
George Washington preferred the name 'Grand Union'. It was the name his soldiers used, thus the name spread throughout the Colonies.
The other names are obviously associated with the flag's beginnings. The name'First Navy Ensign' comes from the flag being first flown on December 3, 1775 by John Paul Jones, then a Continental Navy Lieutenant, on the ship 'Alfred' in Philadelphia. The 'Alfred' was the Flag Ship of Continental Navy Captain Esek Hopkins.
Our own Historian, Lt. Michael Bonislawski, Ph.D. addresses those gathered at the First Flag Ceremony.
CONFUSION AT THE FLAGS SIGHTING
It is said that some people, seeing the First Flag from afar, thought it meant that Loyalist forces had taken Prospect Hill and the Patriots had surrendered. Others were reported as thinking it was the flag of the British East India Trading Company. A similar flag was used by the Company since 1707.
Nonetheless, our Grand Union flag represented the Thirteen United, and eventually Independent, Colonies.
In 1777 'Old Glory', the Stars and Stripes, became the official symbol of our Country by an act of the United States Congress.
LONG MAY SHE WAVE !
If you would like to join us in this and other events, just contact us for more information on how to join our Regiment.