One of the most easily recognized flags, the Bennington flag remains a mystery. Its purpose and revolutionary spirit are much easier to define than the flag’s historical journey.
Therefore, let’s take a look at its appearance, how it came to be, and try to differentiate between the myth and the truth.
Bennington Flag Symbolism
You can’t go wrong with this one — the famous “76” says it all. Perhaps one of the reasons why this flag is so loved comes from the fact it is so easy to interpret. So, let’s get started:
- “76” marks the year 1776, i.e., the year when the Declaration of Independence was signed.
- Thirteen stars and thirteen stripes represent the original thirteen colonies.
- It is said to have been flown at the battle of Bennington, so it belongs to revolutionary flags and stands for the American fight for freedom and independence from British rule.
- The arch and the two stars — apparently, there is no special reason why the two stars are separated from the arched ones.
How Is Bennington Flag Different?
The flag does not differ from the Old Glory just due to the big number and fewer stars and stripes. You may feel uneasy looking at the flag, but you just can’t put your finger on it. That’s because, firstly, the top stripe is white instead of red. Thus, it has seven white stripes and six red stripes (the opposite of Old Glory). Secondly, the blue canton looks as if it were rotated in the wrong direction because it is taller than today’s version.
Finally, the last “eyesore” would be the stars. On the Bennington flag, they have seven points, while on the official US flag there are five-pointed stars.
History vs Myth
The story goes like this: the Bennington flag is called so because it was flown in the battle of Bennington, in Vermont.
Why was Bennington so important? In summer 1777, British troops occupied the region with the intent of taking over the so much needed US supplies in ammunition, cavalry, and draft horses. However, they had no idea that the area was also rich in 1,500 militiamen, who eventually won a great victory. That was the first time a British general was defeated in the Revolutionary war. You can imagine what morale boost the victory brought to the US rebels. That is one of the reasons why this flag is one of the favorite US Revolutionary flags.
As for the creator, the story goes that it was made by General Stark’s wife.
Similarly, the legend says Nathaniel Fillmore carried the Bennington flag. in case the surname sounds familiar, that’s because he was the grandfather of President Fillmore. The flag was passed on from generation to generation until it finally found its place in today’s Bennington Museum when Mrs. Maude Fillmore Wilson made the donation. Consequently, the flag also goes by the name Fillmore flag.
So, which of these is true?
Thanks to the fact that we have the original flag in the museum, it was eventually found that the Bennington flag that resides there was in no way flown in the battle of Bennington.
Namely, the conservation process in 1996 required the museum flag fibers to be inspected closely. It was discovered that the flag was completely made of cotton. This is crucial since cotton fabric was not readily available in the US until the 19th century. Moreover, sewing thread and single and double-ply yarns also indicate the early machine-woven cotton technology, which was not in use until the 1800s.
For this reason, it was virtually impossible for the flag to have been carried in the battle. Official data states the flag in the museum originates from the period between 1812 and 1830. Also, the battle was won in the area between Waloomsac and North Hoosick, New York.
One More Legend
Another myth implies that the 76 on the flag does not relate to 1776 at all (shock, horror!). it’s not proven for sure, but perhaps the Bennington flag in the museum was made for the centennial celebration in 1876. However, there is no concrete evidence of this.
The Bennington flag - Historical US Flag
Why did someone make the flag if it was not flown in the battle? Most probably, the historic event was so inspiring that it eventually led to the production of Bennington flags used to commemorate the victory.
The flag that is displayed today is a part of the Filmore family heirloom. Perhaps the family was not aware of its true origins and when it was actually made. Finally, who is it to say that the Bennington flag wasn’t made by the general’s spouse and that it wasn’t flown in the battle, but later simply got lost due to unpredictable circumstances?
All things considered, the Bennington flag remains both a mystery and a powerful American symbol.
Let us Help You Find the Right Bennington Flag for You!
Carrot-Top offers various fabrics for our Bennington flags.
Our heavy duty Embroidered Nylon Bennington flags have the advantage of being strong yet lightweight, enabling them to dry quickly and fly even in a slight breeze. These flags are finished with a canvas header and solid brass grommets to ensure durability.
Carrot-Top's Cotton Bennington Flag is rendered in heavy 100% Bulldog® cotton with embroidery for exquisite detail. Please note that cotton flags are not intended for outdoor use; their colors will run and bleed if the flag becomes wet. This “1776 Flag" is intended for indoor display, displayed in a frame or from a flagpole. It would be perfect for display on an outrigger pole so it can hang at an angle to show its details. It is not, however, advisable for use with a triangular flag case.
Our 3'x5' Bennington printed nylon flags have the advantage of being strong yet lightweight enabling them to dry quickly and fly even in a slight breeze. These flags are finished with a canvas header and solid brass grommets. These printed historical flags are great to display your pride in the red, white, and blue!
Need help deciding which Bennington flag is right for your needs? Our Carrot-Top experts have more than forty years of experience to be sure that you are getting the right fit every time! Contact us today for assistance with any of your Bennington flag, military flags, custom flags or Made in the USA American flag needs!