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The Star Spangled Banner, the 15 Star Flag


The 15 Star Flag is available for purchase from my friends at U.S. Flag Depot, Inc.

The Star Spangled Banner: This Flag became the Official United States Flag on May 1st,1795. Two stars were added for the admission of Vermont (the 14th State on March 4th, 1791) and Kentucky (the 15th State on June 1st, 1792, and was to last for 23 years. The five Presidents who served under this flag were; George Washington (1789-1797), John Adams (1797-1801), Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809), James Madison (1809-1817), and James Monroe (1817-1825).

The 15-star, 15-stripe flag was authorized by the Flag Act of January 13, 1794, adding 2 stripes and 2 Stars. The regulation went into effect on May 1, 1795. This flag was the only U.S. Flag to have more than 13 stripes. It was immortalized by Francis Scott Key during the bombardment of Fort McHenry, Sept 13, 1814. The image above is representative of the actual flag that flew over Fort McHenry on that day and which is now preserved in the Smithsonian Museum. You can notice the "tilt" in some of the stars just as in the original Star Spangled Banner.

Where the original Star Spangled Banner went...

1814
The battle occurred, and the flag won its glory. Armistead was promoted to Lt. Colonel by Madison. Armistead died in service on April 25, 1818. He acquired the flag sometime before that date, but at this point it is unknown how.

1818
Armistead died and "legend" says that the flag was used in his funeral. However, in all of the newspaper accounts of Armistead's funeral, there is no mention of the flag being displayed at it. At his death the flag passed to his widow, Louisa Armistead.

1824
The flag was used in a reception for General Lafayette.

1861
Louisa Armistead died on October 3, 1861, and in her will left the flag to her daughter, Georgiana Armistead Appleton. The flag was sent to England for safe keeping during the Civil War, according to one of the Armistead family members, who made this statement in a newspaper interview in the 1880's. But Georgiana said, in a letter to Admiral George Preble, that the flag was in her possession during the rebellion.

June 24, 1873
The flag was displayed in the Charleston Naval Yards. Canvas backing was sewn on the flag and one of the first photographs was taken of it.

1876
The flag was loaned to the Navy Department for the Centenial Celebration.

1879
Georgiana Armistead Appleton died in 1879 and left the flag to her son Eben Appleton.

1907

Eben Appleton loaned the flag to the Smithsonian.

1912

Eben Appleton converts the loan of the flag to a gift to the Smithsonian.

1914
Amelia Fowler was commissioned to remove the canvas backing sewn on the flag when it was photographed in 1873 and replace it with the present linen backing.
Official Flags of the United States
13-Star 15-Star 20-Star 21-Star 23-Star
24-Star 25-Star 26-Star 27-Star 28-Star
29-Star 30-Star 31-Star 32-Star 33-Star
34-Star 35-Star 36-Star 37-Star 38-Star
43-Star 44-Star 45-Star 46-Star 48-Star

49-Star
50-Star


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This Site Established on 20 November 1994.
Last Updated 10 February 2005.

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