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"Best information on American AWI unit flags?" Topic

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Stalkey and Co Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2020 3:04 p.m. PST

I have some books, but who presently has the most up to date info on flags for colonial units?

Also, did anyone resolve the issue about having those extra small company flags – guidons, really – in the battalions? I have heard it both ways that they used them and did not.

All info appreciated, including "most likelies".

John the OFM14 Dec 2020 3:24 p.m. PST

Richardson, Standards and Colors of the American Revolution.
The only thing for Patriot forces it's lacking is the Tarleton trophies.
It's not quite encyclopedic for British or German flags.

"Guidons" refer specifically to Dragoon flags.

Wargamers clutch at whatever straws/flags they can, so if you have smaller flags, use them. grin If we have information on 10% of Patriot flags in specific units, we're lucky.

WillBGoode14 Dec 2020 3:26 p.m. PST

Edward W. Richardson's
Standards and Colors of the American Revolution is my go to book on the subject.

From a posting on my blog concerning the standard and colors.

There is a question were any of these Standard and Colours ever issued. There is no definitive documentation either way. But there is possibly other hints of confirmation. Thomas Hughs of the British 53rd Regiment of Foot while a prisoner in Lancaster Pennsylvania made this observation. "Jan: 19 (1780) A Regiment of 400 men with 6 pieces of brass cannon marched in a great parade into town – The cannon are some of those taken from Burgoyne. The troops were well clothed and are part of the southern reinforcement. They have three Standards, one in the center of the Regiment, and one in the middle of each wing. The colours were blue, red and white, with the 13 stripes in the corner of each. " The captured Waxhaw colours are also very similar to the Standard and Colours #7. The exception is one of the Grand Divison colours which is yellow and not red. But with that exception very similar. So it is possible that colours of these patterns were issued and carried in the field. The description by Thomas Hughes also Suggests that these were carried by battalions in the approved manner. And this makes a interesting possibly way to organize and display your late war Continental regiments and Colours.


Stalkey and Co Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2020 3:41 p.m. PST

Thanks Will!

I am considering mounting my units by division, and perhaps giving each a wing color [so three flags as described]. I like having the wing colors be plainer.

So would a fancy flag and with a device and field, and two colored standards perhaps a bit smaller be a fair guess as to how they might have looked?

Von Steuben's drill book seems to use movement by divisions a lot, and I can see where it would help if they had some sort of guidon to guide the divisions in their formation changes and such.

Also, does anyone make these flags for wargamers??

WillBGoode14 Dec 2020 3:46 p.m. PST

I hope once you do this you post your miniature regiments for us to see. I think it would looks the nuts!

I think that GMB makes division colors.

Also here are some examples from 1776 for Health's Brigade


Jeffers15 Dec 2020 12:57 a.m. PST

Flags of War are worth a look. Good products and service:


7th Va Cavalry15 Dec 2020 7:25 a.m. PST

Great blog WillBeGoode. It must be refreshing to actually post it yourself. Enjoy that feeling throughout the day!!!

Stalkey and Co Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2020 8:42 a.m. PST

Thanks for link, Jeffers!

In a box of figs I got from someone else, it has line drawings of flags that you could fill in – like a coloring book. I like that idea as being somewhat retro and toy soldier like. Anyone have any links to anywhere that does that? Obviously, I don't need help with stripes, but some of the scrolls and shapes can get a bit tricky.

WillBGoode15 Dec 2020 9:06 a.m. PST

I think something like that would be super useful.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2020 10:48 a.m. PST

The OFM is correct; our ignorance is an order of magnitude greater than our knowledge. I use the Gastelow flags without hesitation.

I'v mentioned this before, but Virginia's militia law required every company -- and that would have been hundreds -- to have a standard, with no further requirement as to shape, size, color, device, or anything else. I assume each company's captain asked his wife and her sewing circle to come up with something. My militiamen are from Augusta County and are commanded by one of my ancestors, Robert McBride. His flag, produced by the Flag Dude to my specs, shows the Blue Ridge and has "McBride's Company -- Augusta" written on it.

Use your imagination and have fun with it!

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2020 10:53 a.m. PST
John the OFM15 Dec 2020 11:01 a.m. PST

The Moravian nuns made the guidon for … Pulaski's Legion?

Please avoid the "Betsy Ross flag". It gives purists heartburn.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2020 11:03 a.m. PST

I know that about the BR flag, but I use it anyway: I like it, some of my kids expect it, and anyone who objects can go fly his own flags.

John the OFM15 Dec 2020 11:18 a.m. PST

I have three units with Betsy Ross flags. I did them years ago. They've fought well for me, and I don't want a mutiny if I try dare to replace them.

Jeffers15 Dec 2020 12:28 p.m. PST

I went with Betsy because there is not a shred of originality in my character. But they look good… 😎

WillBGoode15 Dec 2020 12:52 p.m. PST

"it is better to look good than to feel good."

Fernando Lamas

John the OFM15 Dec 2020 12:56 p.m. PST

You'll never mistake a unit with a Betsy Ross flag for Burgundians.

Bill N15 Dec 2020 1:14 p.m. PST

Richardson is a great book. It is also long out of print. I am fortunate that the library a few blocks from my office has it. There are also decent posts on this and other sites if you are looking for a flag of a particular unit.

My American forces don't carry the Betsy Ross flag. I do have an ensign carrying the generally discredited Cowpens flag, which many people will mistake for the BR flag. He will continue to do so until someone can prove that the Continental line at Cowpens was carrying a different flag.

I have no problem with Continental units going into battle without flags. It was probably the norm rather than the exception for regulars on both sides. However flags look cool so many of my regulars carry them. I have with one exception resisted the urge to give my militia flags.

Most of my infantry flags are either Flag of War or GMB. I have some Maverick Models flags for my horse when I get the flag bearers painted.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2020 7:43 p.m. PST

No record that I know of about Va militia carrying colors into battle -- and their permanent companies were typically not mustered as such but sent part of their strength in rotation -- in part so as not to denude a neighborhood of all of its men, since the companies were geographically based. But captains were certainly among those so dispatched to duty with an army, and I expect a fair many of them took along their flag. Their wife would have been insulted had they not. "Don't you LIKE what we did for you? The ladies worked HARD on that!"

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2020 7:45 p.m. PST

Just imagine how pissed Betsy would have been had General Washington not used her flag!

John the OFM15 Dec 2020 8:12 p.m. PST

Martha would have taken her side too.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2020 9:45 p.m. PST

Abigail gave John a hard time in a few famous letters, though not about flags.

John the OFM15 Dec 2020 10:21 p.m. PST

True, but he wasn't a General.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP16 Dec 2020 6:49 a.m. PST

Probably our least military Founder.

historygamer16 Dec 2020 7:07 a.m. PST

American flags, like their Light Infantry, make my head hurt trying to figure out what was what. :-)

John the OFM16 Dec 2020 7:35 a.m. PST

Pain is gain.

WillBGoode16 Dec 2020 7:51 a.m. PST

Like many things in the American Rev War you read your sources, look at conflicting points of view and make your best guess.

Or, pick the best looking one and use that. 😊

historygamer16 Dec 2020 8:15 a.m. PST

You are both correct. :-)

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP16 Dec 2020 12:46 p.m. PST

yes, I wouldn't say looks trumps accuracy, but it is sure the tie breaker.

John the OFM16 Dec 2020 2:06 p.m. PST

That's why they have swimsuit competitions in "scholarship pageants".

Clays Russians21 Jan 2021 7:28 a.m. PST

Please no Betsy rossers

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP21 Jan 2021 3:13 p.m. PST

Nah, Clays, there are too many good reasons to use some. I have three, out of 20+ units.

Clays Russians21 Jan 2021 6:39 p.m. PST

Doc mcb, 3 out of 20+. Perfectly acceptable, I'll just take a tums for my very mild heartburn 🤭😁

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP21 Jan 2021 9:43 p.m. PST

Thumbs up, Clays.

Jeffers22 Jan 2021 5:25 a.m. PST

Do Tums come in a party pack? 😆


Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP22 Jan 2021 6:38 a.m. PST

Both great looking units, and beautiful flags!

(The kids who play with my toys don't care about bastion lace either.)

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