The Fort Stanwix Flag Ceremony
The Fort Stanwix Flag Ceremony – The Siege Ends, takes place on Tuesday, August 23, 2022, at 3:00pm at the Fort Stanwix National Monument.
The Siege at Fort Stanwix began on Aug 2, 1777 and lasted until August 22, 1777 when British forces, Loyalists, Hessian troops under the command of British Brigadier General Barry St. Leger, abandoned the seige.
Fort Stanwix occupied a strategic western portage known as the Oneida Carrying Place (site of modern Rome, New York) between the Mohawk River, which flowed southeast to the Hudson River, and Wood Creek, whose waters ultimately led to Lake Ontario. This was an important link in the main 18th century trade route between the Atlantic seaboard of North America and interior of the continent, and was of strategic importance to both the British and the Colonial forces.
It was during the early days of the siege that the first official Flag of the United States was flown over the fort during battle.
On June 17, 1777, the Continental Congress had adopted the following resolution,
“Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white, on a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
News of this resolution of the official flag was previously printed in the newspapers and brought to the fort by Massachusetts reinforcements to Fort Schuyler.
I can only image the energy and excitement among the soldiers at Fort Stanwix, known at the time as Fort Schuyler, hearing the news of an official flag for the new nation they were fighting to create. This must have caused morale to soar and strengthen the resolve of all at the fort to hold their ground and repel the siege knowing they were not alone and an entire new nation was also behind them.
This “American Spirit” brought the besieged inhabitants together to create a real flag of their own to fly above the fort.
It has been recorded that the soldiers cut up their shirts to make the white stripes; scarlet material was secured from red flannel petticoats of officers’ wives, while material for the blue union was secured from Capt. Abraham Swartwout‘s blue cloth coat. A voucher was delivered to the fort showing that Congress paid Capt. Swartwout for his coat for the flag.
The Siege at Fort Schuyler began on Aug 2, 1777 and lasted until August 22, 1777 when British forces, Loyalists, Hessian troops under the command of British Brigadier General Barry St. Leger, abandoned the siege and retreated back to Canada.