The American Flag is Flown in Battle for the First Time
On September 3, 1777, the American flag was flown in battle for the first time during a Revolutionary War skirmish at Cooch’s Bridge, Delaware. History.com writes, “Patriot General William Maxwell ordered the “Stars and Stripes” banner raised as a detachment of his infantry and cavalry met an advance guard of British and Hessian troops.”
A painting of the Battle of Cooch's Bridge by the late artist Jack Lewis. (Photo: delawareonline.com)
Maxwell’s troops were defeated in the engagement and forced to retreat to Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania, where they linked up with General George Washington’s main force.
This 58 second clip from We Are The Mighty provides a description of when the Stars and Stripes were flown in battle for the first time.
Three months prior to the skirmish at Cooch’s Bridge, the Continental Congress passed a resolution that called for the creation of an official United States flag on June 14, 1777. This date is observed annually as Flag Day. Congress’ resolution stated that “the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” As new states joined the Union over time, more stars were added to the flag to represent them.
The Cooch's Bridge battle monument in Delaware. (Photo: Delaware.gov)
It’s important to note that some historians debate whether the flag being flown at Cooch’s Bridge is history or a myth.
Regardless of where historians stand on the story of the skirmish at Cooch’s Bridge, there can be no denying that since the Revolutionary War, American troops have carried the Stars and Stripes into battle throughout history.
The American flag has a meaning that goes beyond words. It has been carried into battles that have shaped our future and rests over the graves of the individuals who have given us our freedom. For the sake of our heroes, we must always cherish and respect it. Millions of names will live on forever through the Stars and Stripes.