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.
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.
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.
The flag was used in a reception for General Lafayette.
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.
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.
The flag was loaned to the Navy Department for the Centenial Celebration.
Georgiana Armistead Appleton died in 1879 and left the flag to her son Eben Appleton.
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.
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