Posted on 3 Comments

Early photographic image of U.S. flag

I’ve been on a mission this week: to find the earliest known photographic images of the U.S. flag. My guideline was simple—any image that includes a easily identifiable U.S. flag. I have found many images that almost meet the criteria, and I could extrapolate and assume the flag was indeed the Stars and Stripes, but I wanted an unmistakable flag.

In the meantime, while I continue to work on this project, here is a photograph of the USS Cairo (1862). This is the only known photograph of the USS Cairo, and obviously was her formal portrait.

Note: However, having enlarged the photograph as much as I can, I’m not sure the flag being flown is the standard U.S. flag of 1862. It is not the Navy jack of that time period either, which would be only the blue union. There seems to be some damage to the photograph right on top of the flag which muddles the image. The flag, which seems much larger than what would have been flown when the ship was underway, looks to me like the first Navy Jack—the stripes and rattlesnake “Don’t Tread on Me.” Which would mean that this is an early photograph of an historic American flag, and I’ll need to adjust my guidelines. Historians and scholars, please write if you have information that will clarify what flag this is.

h61568 1USS Cairo, a 512-ton “City” class ironclad river gunboat built at Mound City, Illinois, was commissioned in January 1862 as part of the U.S. Army’s Western Gunboat Flotilla. She began war operations in February, taking part in the occupations of Clarksville and Nashville, Tennessee. In April and May 1862, Cairo was involved in the campaign to capture Fort Pillow and was present during the 10 May naval action there. She was also engaged with Confederate warships during the action off Memphis, Tennessee, on 6 June 1862.

Cairo continued her operations on the Mississippi River and its tributaries and was formally transferred to the Navy in October. On 12 December 1862, while engaged in mine clearance activities on the Yazoo River, Mississippi, Cairo was sunk by a Confederate mine (or “torpedo,” as mines were then known). Her wreck was recovered in 1965, but was badly damaged during the salvage efforts. It has subsequently been partially restored and is on exhibit at Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Photograph and information from the U.S. Navy’s Naval Historical Center.

Posted on 1 Comment

The Daily Flag News—July 30, 2007

I frequently get links to photos from the Red Flag Alaska exercises because of the flag reference. The photos are always awesome, and taken from great angles, not possible by mere mortals. The official Air Force photographer does a fantastic job getting just the right view to emphasise the situation.

Military Photos: Aggressor at Red Flag Alaska
agressor_alaska.jpgAn F-15C Aggressor from the 65th Aggressor Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., flies over a mountain range on a refueling mission at Red Flag-Alaska July 25. Red Flag-Alaska enables aviation units to sharpen their combat skills by flying simulated combat sorties in a realistic threat environment. More than 80 aircraft and 1,500 servicemembers from six countries are participating in the exercise July 12 to 27. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Tana Stevenson)

The Daily Flag carried the story of President Bush signing the U.S. Flag Code amendment earlier this month. It’s good to see an organization obeying the newly signed amendment. Way to go, National Corvette Museum.

NCM Flags at Wendell’s Corner
wendells-corner-ncm.jpgWe have three flags that we fly daily at the NCM. They are the American flag, Kentucky flag and the NCM flag. Several people have asked about seeing them flying at half-staff and questioned why.

We certainly try to abide by any directive from our President. However, most of the time it is because of a directive from Kentucky’s Governor.

Anytime a Kentuckian serving in our military is killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, our Governor out of respect to the family and to honor that service man or woman orders flags to be lowered to half-staff until final burial has been completed.

We feel it is the least we can and should do!

Last Wednesday, The Daily Flag brought the story about the UK allowing government buildings to fly the Union Jack every day, if they wanted. Now this addition to the story brings an interesting twist from Scotland. It appears the Scotland will continue to fly their flag, raising the Union Jack on the official 16 days, previously designated.

Scotland exempt from Brown’s fly-the-flag plan | the Daily Mail
unionjackover-downingstreet.jpgGordon Brown’s plans to fly the Union Flag on public buildings every day will not apply to Scotland, it has emerged.

Nationalists have warned that they are not prepared to raise the flag on official buildings north of the border after claiming that the idea of Britishness “went bust long ago”.

… An SNP spokesman said: “Jack Straw agreed there are different considerations in Scotland than there are in England. “He agreed that the issue of flags is best left for us to decide.

“In Scotland, the Saltire (Flag of Scotland) will fly each day, although on 18 special days the union flag will be raised instead.”

However, some SNP MPs say that the Saltire should get precedence over the Union Flag at all times as “the most potent symbol of Scottish nationhood”.