Last modified: 2011-07-22 by
Keywords: fort mifflin | pennsylvania |
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image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 21 August 2003
The flag was/is composed of thirteen horizontal stripes in a repeated pattern of (from the top) red-white-blue, ending with a red stripe.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 21 August 2003
The Fort Mifflin Flag was originally the official flag of the Continental Navy Jack. As you can see it is very distinctive in its design, consisting of thirteen alternating stripes of red, white and blue, representing the thirteen colonies of the new nation at the time. The Fort Mifflin flag borrowed the design because the navy was operating in the vicinity of the Delaware River forts and it was the only flag the soldiers of the fort saw on the island. The present flag that flies over the fort is an exact replica of the flag that flew over the fort in the fall of 1777, but is only one quarter the size of the garrison flag that flew during the battle and could be seen as far away as Philadelphia, over 7 miles away.
During the siege of Fort Mifflin from October 4th to the morning of November 16th 1777, the flag remained flying, despite the largest bombardment the North American continent has ever seen. Over 10,000 cannonballs were shot at the small garrison of men at the fort and at one point 1,000 cannonballs in one hour. Through the tremendous shelling by the batteries on land and the British fleet in the river, the Continental soldiers held fast and heroically stood against the onslaught. At one point the flag was shot from the pole and two soldiers rushed to raise it, but no sooner than they had done so a British mortar shell burst and killed both men. Eventually the Fort was unable to bear under the constant barrage, but the defenders did not surrender the Fort, the flag was still flying the morning they evacuated to New Jersey.
It is said that this same flag flew over the American defenders at Fort Stanwix during the Burgoyne Campaign in New York State of the same year as well as at Fort Griswold in Connecticut.
Lee Patrick Anderson
Director of Public Programming
Fort Mifflin on the Delaware
11 October 2006