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Connecticut Colonial/Revolutionary War Flags (U.S.)


Last modified: 2021-04-17 by rick wyatt
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2nd Connecticut Regiment

[2nd Connecticut Regiment flag] image by Joe McMillan, 22 February 2004

Source: "The Flag Book of the United States", Smith (1975)

This flag belongs to the Second Connecticut Regiment. The flag is described in the book as "Red field, yellow scrolls, fringe and outer edge of shield, blue inner edge of shield and ribbon above shield. Grapes are purple, leaves green and ground brown." There is also a little narrative of the flag and its regiment:

"This flag was probably used after 1775, when the Connecticut General Assembly ordered eight regiments to be raised, and before 1777, when the Continental Line was organized. The three grape vines on the shield, the arms of Connecticut, represent the three original settlements of the colony; Hartford, Windsor, and Wethersfield. The motto is abbreviated from Qui Transtulit Sustinet, 'He who brought us here will take care of us.'"
Randy Young, 29 January 2001

Whitney Smith's Flag Book of the United States (Smith,1975) points out that the Connecticut arms with three grapevines were used on flags from an early date. The regimental color of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Connecticut Regiment, circa 1775, is still extant. It shows the arms on a red field; each Connecticut regiment in the Revolutionary War carried this basic design on a different colored field. A 1780 regulation provided for the addition of 13 stripes in a lower quarter if necessary to distinguish similar colors from one another.

In the 19th century, state militia units carried blue flags with the coat of arms--essentially the basis of the present state flag. During the Civil War period, the state arms were combined with the U.S. arms. I have seen New York military colors from this period in which the state and federal arms were impaled; Connecticut may have followed the same practice--I don't know.

In the 1890s, the state adjutant general prepared a report on the flags in use by the state at the time. He reported that the governor used a square blue flag with the coat of arms, while a similar flag was flown over the state capitol during meetings of the General Assembly. A legislative resolution of 4 July 1895 said, "The flag which has up to the present time been generally accepted as the flag of this state ought to be officially and formally designated as such." This was done by act of the legislature on 3 June 1897.

Official color specifications for the Connecticut flag were established in 1957 by the state Department of Finance and Control.
Joe McMillan, 20 February 2004

The Revolutionary War flag of Connecticut was viewed at the NAVA Meeting in 2007 viewed in Hartford. Both the color and the motto on the obverse are similar to a description of a color used at Bunker Hill in 1776.** The flag is generally accepted as an authentic Rev War Color. Only problem is, under the regulations of the day, the 2nd Regiment’s color was not supposed to be red, as I recall each regiment at the time had a different color ground and red was supposed to be for the 3rd or some other regiment.

Anyway, I stumbled on the attached news clipping the other day, from The Connecticut Courant dated 1/13/1794, titled “State of Connecticut—General Orders”. Note the description of the State color at the end of the order. “… scarlet, with the Arms of the State painted on one side, and on the reverse, the number of the Regiment and Battalion to which they belong, with the word CONNECTICUT, at full length in capital gilt Letters.”

Wow! If that doesn’t describe this flag almost to a tee, I don’t know what would.

I think it is all a factor arising from the Federal Militia Law of 1792. That law required each state to have however many divisions they thought they could raise. Each Division to consist of two Brigades, which would be made up of 8 Regiments (plus 2 Troops Cavalry and 2 Batteries of Artillery) which would equal 16 Battalions or 80 Companies of 64 privates each plus officers, general staff, etc.

Nothing I have ever seen indicates any such structure during the Revolutionary War. But post-War, and I would argue, post 1792, colors often had the unit designation that included the Battalion up to at least the Mexican War, at least in New England.

Attached: center panel from 1793 NH Regimental Color (oval panel in center of purple flag surrounded by 13 silver stars). (The National color was similar but with the US Arms on the oval.) The 1786 colors were not specified to have unit designations.
Dave Martucci, 19 March 2018

** See for more images of this flag

Colonial Privateer

[Connecticut Colonial Privateer flag] image by Randy Young, 30 January 2001

Source: "Flags to Color from the American Revolution."

This flag is found on the very first page of the book, and is listed as simply "A Connecticut Privateer Flag." The flag is described as "Blue field, white canton, purple grapes." The grape vine in the canton comes from the Connecticut coat of arms.
Randy Young, 30 January 2001

Webb's Continental Regiment

[flag of Webb's Continental Regiment] image by Randy Young, 1 February 2001

Source: "Flags to Color from the American Revolution."

This flag is found on page 14 of the book, and is listed as "Flag of Webb's Continental Regiment, Continental Line." The flag's colors are described as "Yellow field, green wreath, red ribbon, silver sword, black I." And the narrative of the flag is simply
"This little guidon may once have belonged to the First (I) Company of an additional Continental Regiment of Foot raised in 1777 by Col. S.B. Webb of Connecticut."
Randy Young, 1 February 2001

Webb's Regiment Color

[Webb's Regiment Color] image by Randy Young, 3 March 2001

Source: "Flags to Color from the American Revolution."

This one is found on page 6 of the book, and is listed as "Webb's Regiment Color." The colors are listed as "yellow field, red robe, blue belt, multicolored feathers, black hat, flag with seven red and six white stripes, tan lion, green grass, gold lettering on dark blue ribbon." The flag itself is described as:
"Europeans often depicted America in the figure of a woman dressed like an Indian. Here she displays the liberty cap, 'American flag,' and a sword used to decapitate an enemy. A large part of the flag is missing."
Randy Young, 1 February 2001