Bedford Flag

Date: April 19, 1775

A gray mailed arm coming our to the clouds, and holding a sword aloft. Made of silk and hand-painted. The field is red, and on the scroll are the words "Vince Aut Morire" - meaning "Conquer or Die.". [R35]

After the Boston Tea Party, England closed the port of Boston and demanded the tea be paid for. The resentment of the patriots broke into open rebellion. They banded together secretly in villages and hamlets in Massachusetts and drilled as soldiers. They called themselves "minutemen", ready to fight at a moment's notice.

General Gage, in command of the British troops in Boston, heard of this activity. He ordered his army to march against the rebels.

This flag was present at Lexington and Concord and the first American flag to be used under fire. At Concord, the flag was carried by Captain Nathaniel Page, on of the minutemen from Bedford, MA

The Bedford Flag was based on what was probably the first colonial flag on the American continent. It was called the Three County Troop Flag of Middlesex, Suffolk and Essex Counties, Massachusetts. The origins of the flag date back to 1659, when this troop participated in King Philip's War, an important 17th century New England conflict.

The flag is preserved at the Bedford Free Public Library in Bedford, MA.

Read more.