The Star Spangled Banner, the 15 Star Flag
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;
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...
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.
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.
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 loaned the flag to the Smithsonian.
Eben Appleton converts the loan of the flag to a gift to the Smithsonian.
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.