Jump to content

Question about the use of the US flag


Recommended Posts


First - I would not have ever used the Smithsonian as the historical consultants for the film - not with the problems they have had of late properly dealing with history (e.g. the Enola Gay fiasco for one). The latest issue of their magazine has an article about the film "The Patriot" that even mentions how they could not agree among themselves if the "Betsy Ross" style flag was ever used by Continental regiments. The film's producers decided to go with the "Betsy Ross " flags as they were something that modern American audiences could relate to.


According to the definitive book on Rev War flags ( Edward Richardson's "Standards And Colors Of The American Revolution") such flags were not used (though variants of Stars and Stripes flags were though mostly by naval units). The proper Continental Army colors only showed up once in the film that I could see - those of a Rhode Island reenactor units that was in the movie. There were no Rhode Island Continental units in South Carolina (some Virginia, but mainly Maryland and Delaware line).


Other than these, the rest of the American battle flags were patriotic colors - like the one with "Liberty" along the bottom of a blue flag that was probably inspired by the Ft. Moultrie flag. Others had the coiled rattlesnake and slogans about them. While these are period flags I don't know how many of such colors ever were used as battle flags for even militia units - and I highly doubt they saw service with Continental regiments (who by 1781 were supposed to have some flags that at least conformed to Von Steuben's 1779 regluations).


The reenactor consultants seemed to have had a hard time with the film's producers as well as the Smithsonian consultants

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I remember the flag in "The Patriot" being one used closer to the Civil War, or at least some time after we became a sovereign nation.


My guess is that Hollywood's top priority isn't to accurately show which particular American flag was used in combat during the early days of our nation. Accuracy would be nice, but details about that period's flag use were sketchy at best.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...