Washington's Navy Ensign

Also know as Washington's Cruisers and the First Navy Ensign.

Date: 1775.

White field with pine tree in center. The words "An Appeal to Heaven" above the tree. [R23]

In Boston in 1775, a New England army began to form under the dozing eyes of British General Thomas Gage. In September, two floating batteries were launched on the Charles River and began pummeling the British troops in Boston. They flew the Pine Tree Flag.

That fall of 1775, General Washington outfitted a squadron of six schooners at his own expense for use in the coastal waters off the New England colonies. His secretary wrote to the agents preparing the cruisers and suggested that they use the flag above.

Massachusetts naval forces later adopted the flag in April of 1776.