The Bedford Flag

BedfordFlagThe Bedford flag is the only flag thought to be carried by the Insurgent forces on April 19th, 1775.  It was carried by Nathaniel Page, of the Bedford Minutemen.  Bedford is about five miles northeast of Concord.

But the flag itself dates back to even before the French and Indian war.  It was commissioned for a Massachusetts cavalry unity by Nathaniel’s father in 1737.  As a cavalry flag, it was not the size we think of for other Revolutionary War Flags.  It measured 27″ long by 29″ wide and was made of crimson silk damask.  This flag still resides in the Bedford Public Library.

Their website describes the flag this way:  “Into the rich red damask is woven a pattern of pomegranates, grapes, and leaves.  The design is painted on both sides of the flag, mainly in silver and gold.  The emblem consists of a mailed arm emerging from clouds and grasping a sword.  Three cannonballs hang in the air.  Encircling the arm is a gold ribbon on which the Latin words “VINCE AUT MORIRE” (Conquer or Die) are painted.”

Nathaniel told his grandson the story of April 19th, when he carried this little flag to Concord and into history:  “Our people were not surprised when the messenger reached this house…  We had agreed at the last drilling to meet, in case of alarm, at the tavern in the center of the town, kept by Jeremiah Fitch, sergeant of the militia company.  The horseman banged on the house and cried out, ‘Up, Mr. Page, the regulars are out.’  We were not long at our preparations, and were soon at the tavern.”

When they reached concord, Nathaniel and the Bedford Minutemen remove and hide stores before joining the Concord militia at the North Bridge.